An apparently rigorous and pretty well-hyped AP Racial Attitudes poll finds Americans are slightly more racist against blacks (51%) than they were four years ago, which will cause Barack Obama about 2% of the vote. The polling protocol puts the substantive questions about race at the tail end of many seeming generic 2012 Election poll queries. But the real juicy number is buried on page 14 of the protocol:
IMG4. Do you happen to know the religion of each of the following people? If you don’t know, you can mark that too.
Barack Obama: 2010 poll | 2012 poll
Protestant…..26 | 28
Catholic……….4 | 5
Mormon……….0 | 0
Some other……8 | 2
No religion……..2 | 35
Don’t know……41 | 2
Refused/N.A……1 | 28
Isn’t this the real story from the AP poll? Fully 8 percent more Americans now think Barack Obama is Jewish than think he’s Muslim, or nearly one in five. Given this sample, isn’t it possible these people aren’t so much ever more racist against blacks as increasingly confused about what words refer to? (Note this was an online survey. Do these pollsters not have a troll alarm?)
Maybe they were thinking Ehud Barak? Though surely any recognition move toward the defense minister/Labor Iran hawk’s way since 2010 would have been counteracted by vague memories of Hosni Mubarak, right? Or do most Americans think he’s a Zoroastrian?
N.B. It’s conceivable that what we’re seeing is an atavistic reversion to a historical mean: The less popular someone becomes, the more he’s seen as a Jew and a Black. In other words the post-9/11 elevation of Muslims/Arabs was always just a surface blip on more primordial hatreds. See John Sununu, a Hellenicized Palestinian by paternity, who’d never be accused of deviously “passing” as a normal ‘merican.