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by
Robert Wargas

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June 11, 2012 - 6:21 pm

In its preparations to push The Narrative for the November elections, the New York Times has published a summary of a study by a Harvard doctoral student in economics that purports to have discovered a link between voting patterns and racially charged Google searches:

“…many Americans use Google to find racially charged material. I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” This word was included in roughly the same number of Google searches as terms like ‘Lakers,’ ‘Daily Show,’ ‘migraine’ and ‘economist.’”

But wait. There’s more:

“Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.”

For instance:

“Consider two media markets, Denver and Wheeling (which is a market evenly split between Ohio and West Virginia). Mr. Kerry received roughly 50 percent of the votes in both markets. Based on the large gains for Democrats in 2008, Mr. Obama should have received about 57 percent of votes in both Denver and Wheeling. Denver and Wheeling, though, exhibit different racial attitudes. Denver had the fourth lowest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won 57 percent of the vote there, just as predicted. Wheeling had the seventh highest racially charged search rate in the country. Mr. Obama won less than 48 percent of the Wheeling vote.

Add up the totals throughout the country, and racial animus cost Mr. Obama three to five percentage points of the popular vote. In other words, racial prejudice gave John McCain the equivalent of a home-state advantage nationally.

Yes, Mr. Obama also gained some votes because of his race. But in the general election this effect was comparatively minor. The vast majority of voters for whom Mr. Obama’s race was a positive were liberal, habitual voters who would have voted for any Democratic presidential candidate. Increased support and turnout from African-Americans added only about one percentage point to Mr. Obama’s totals.”

Unless I’m egregiously misinterpreting the data, this study seems to demonstrate that it is in fact Democrats who had the most racist impact on Obama’s 2008 election. Has the New York Times, in its haste to print anything with the words “race” or “racism” in it, unwittingly published something that actually goes against The Narrative?

More evidence of liberal racism from the article:

“I mentioned earlier that the rate of racially charged searches in West Virginia was No. 1 in the country and that the state showed a strong aversion to Mr. Obama in 2008. It recently held its Democratic presidential primary, in which Mr. Obama was challenged by a convicted felon. The felon, who is white, won 41 percent of the vote.”

Now, I realize that economics, at least as practiced by the saltwater schools like Harvard, is largely a pseudoscience. It takes quite a large leap of logic in an academic study to conclude that voting for a white candidate in a primary, even considering such rock-solid forensic evidence as Google searches, is evidence of racism. At the same time, however, it’s funny to see an article (perhaps unwittingly) printed in the race-whipped media that concludes that Democrats are the racist ones.

When I first started reading this story, I thought it was going to be just another Ivy League attempt at “proving” that white conservatives are racists. Oddly, the study does not conclude this. In fact, the article links to an actual copy of the study, which I’m assuming no Times reader looked at. If they did, they’d see this on the top of page 10:

“It is also worth noting that there is not a statistically significant correlation between a media market’s racially charged search and its support for John Kerry in 2004, a proxy for an area’s liberalism. This fact (along with the results in the rest of the paper) offer evidence against some popular wisdom that racial animus is now predominantly a factor among Republicans.”

After reading that, I took a look at the comments section of the article in the Times. This was the best part. All the lib commenters proceeded as though the study showed it was conservatives or Republicans who were proved to be racist. Not one person mentioned the obvious fact that the study was about Dems. Here’s one genius Times reader, ironically named “E. Burke”:

“The Republicans love to tell everyone they are the Christian Religious Right, when the Racism [sic] they cultivate, and benefit from is not from God but that other fellow. You Know who he is, Jesus Called him, ‘The Father of Lies’, and No Our Lord wasn’t thinking of Rupert Murdock [sic] owner of FOX News. It is a LIE that The President has not done well, especially when he has had no bipartisan help, and only obstructist [sic] behavior from republicans.”

This “reader” did not read the article or the study. But does anyone read the Times anymore?

 

Robert Wargas is a contributor to PJ Media. A native of Long Island, he was educated at the City University of New York and Yale University, and has also written for The Daily Telegraph of London and The Weekly Standard. Outside of opinion writing, he has worked as a professional historian for a major research laboratory and university, documenting the history of biotechnology since the 1970s. He has also reported for both weekly and daily newspapers, including Newsday. He maintains a personal blog/website at robertwargas.org. Follow him on Twitter @RobertWargas
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