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North Carolinians aren't biased; just ask 'em

A delicious dispatch from the "I'm perfect, you're not" view-of-the-universe department ...

As a prelude to North Carolina's May 6 Democratic presidential primary, state voters recently were asked about prejudices. As related by the Raleigh News & Observer, here's what the poll found:

* A whoppingly large number -- 91% -- said race would not affect their political decisions -- but 54% said they knew someone who would not cast a ballot for a black.

* A candidate's gender, 79% said, would make no difference to them -- but 63% said they knew someone who would not vote for a woman.

The survey by Elon University also looked ahead to the fall election that will feature Republican John McCain trying to become the oldest person elected to a first presidential term.

No problem, 66% said, age would not be a factor in their vote -- but 44% said they knew someone who would not support someone they viewed as "too old."

Nice to know there are so many open-minded folks in the Tar Heel State. Too bad about so many of their neighbors, though.

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (5)

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It's hard to campaign in North Carolina, when there are only two last names in the phone book.

It all became crystal clear to me ~ youtube has 2 videos on hillary,"bosnia and back again" and "the clinton chronicles" these will clear up any doubts about them and how they operate. ~I PITY THE FOOL ~that can't see the truth!!!

Bring Peter Paul out in the open This is happening in LA why is it not front page news?
The Clintons are in LA today ,Media do your job!

Fairly simple explanation, actually: Years of inbreeding have made the residents of North Carolina a very "close" bunch of folks. There's really only eight racists, twelve sexists and fourteen ageists; it's just that everybody knows them.

Yes, these results are strange -- but in the opposite way! Assume for a moment that 91% of NC voters really aren't racist about political candidates. That means that everyone they know has a 9% chance of being racist. If they know 10 people, the chance that none of them are racist is .91 to the 10th power, or 39%. In other words, they have a 61% chance of knowing someone racist (compared to the 54% who said they did). This is probably a low estimate, too, since people generally know the (extreme) views of more than 10 people. And as a previous poster pointed out -- if jokingly -- all it takes is one very vocal racist (or sexist, or ageist) person to be the "one person" that everyone in their neighborhood / church / school district knows. In addition, friendship networks aren't uniform: racist people are more likely to have friends who are also racist, and vice versa. So all this adds up to: the NC voters are probably vastly UNDER-counting whether there is anyone in their neighborhoods who would vote based on race, sex, or age.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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