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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Do Racial Attitudes Affect Opinions About The Health Care Overhaul?

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House on March 23, 2010. Data suggest that racial attitudes of ordinary Americans shape both how they feel about the health care overhaul and how intense those feelings are.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House on March 23, 2010. 

Data suggest that racial attitudes of ordinary Americans shape both how they feel about the health care overhaul and how intense those feelings are.


As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear a case involving the constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul, social scientists are asking a disturbing — and controversial — question: Do the intense feelings about the health care overhaul among ordinary Americans stem from their philosophical views about the appropriate role of government, or from their racial attitudes about the signature policy of the country's first black president?

In a new paper published in the American Journal of Political Science, Michael Tesler presents survey and experimental data that suggest that the racial attitudes of ordinary Americans have shaped both how they feel about the health care overhaul, and how intense those feelings are.

The paper is one of many studies that examines how the views of voters on policy issues are shaped — at least in part — by factors unrelated to those subjects: Voters are more likely to back the policies of leaders with whom they share some core aspect of identity, such as race or religion.
  Tesler finds that blacks have become increasingly supportive of health care under Obama's watch. Among whites, Tesler finds a sharp divide between whites who have a liberal outlook on racial issues compared with those who have a conservative outlook on racial issues.

In an experiment, Tesler presents a health care overhaul policy to whites, telling some that the policy is advocated by Bill Clinton and telling others that it's advocated by Barack Obama; Tesler finds that whites with liberal racial attitudes become more supportive of the policy when they think Obama is its chief advocate, while whites with a conservative attitude become less supportive of the policy when they think of health care as an Obama policy.

The study is part of a broad range of research projects that shows that issues such as race and religion play a powerful role in shaping how people feel about policies related to war, welfare and crime.

6 comments:

Karen Johnson Com 101-4080 said...

I would like to see the Healthcare policy viewed as a healthcare alternative to those who cannot afford private insurance carriers not an Obama insurance policy.

Anonymous said...

People are racist and hate that we have Obama as president for the skin color of the family in the White House. It is a fact. America remains a racist country, and the Republican Party continues to remain the part of the rich white man.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting read. This shows that America still hasn't matured when it comes to racial matters especially when a black male advocates a healthcare policy we shouldn't look at his color but what he has to offer.

Kristian Magtanong
section 4049
com 101

Ana Tinta COM 101-4080 said...

Everybody has their own opionions about diffrent racial situations. Everybody also addresses them diffrently. Healthcare should not be linked with color!

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting article. There are plenty of people who don't like President Obama's healthcare reform simply because of the color of his skin and there are people who support it just because they don't want to feel like they are racist if they don't. It's a lose/lose situation. Americans need to be honest with themselves. Until we are we can never move past pr racial prejudices.

fred said...

Sad! Sad! Sad! It so crazy to see that we as people still cant see that no matter the color we are all the same. What's even more sad is that we will also teach our kid to see color.