I’m trying to muster up some sense of surprise, but as you can imagine, it’s quite difficult to be shocked by these findings.

University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek and other researchers conducted a study that confirms what we all pretty much assumed. Unfortunately, the study doesn’t investigate the complexities of “why” folks who vote Repug are more likely to be racist. Anecdotally, of course I’m sure we can come up with a boatload of reasons. (WaPo):

For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people’s associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.

The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces — evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.

“Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president,” said Banaji, “but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice.”

…Jon Krosnick, a psychologist and political scientist at Stanford University, who independently assessed the studies, said it remains to be seen how significant the correlation is between racial bias and political affiliation.

For example, he said, the study could not tell whether racial bias was a better predictor of voting preference than, say, policy preferences on gun control or abortion. But while those issues would be addressed in subsequent studies — Krosnick plans to get random groups of future voters to take the psychological tests and discuss their policy preferences — he said the basic correlation was not in doubt.

If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial,” he said. “We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, ‘This takes me aback,’ they are ignoring a huge volume of research.”

Hat tip, Raw Story.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding