July 06, 2007

Perceived Bigotry Coefficient

I was looking at the latest Newsweek poll (what's up 26% Bush approval rating!), and noticed a number of questions about how people feel about voting for minority candidates.

For example, 85% say they would vote for a woman if she were nominated by their party to be president. This, compared to 92% for a black candidate, 65% for a Mormon, 80% for a Hispanic.

When asked if they thought "America was ready for a woman president" 58% of respondents said "Yes." This, compared to 59% for a black candidate, 35% for a Mormon, 40% for a Hispanic.

The difference between the two number is interesting to compare. In some sense, you could divide the latter number by the former to come up with a "perceived bigotry" coefficient for each minority. It works out to .68 for women, .64 for blacks, .53 for Mormons and .50 for Hispanics.

What the perceived bigotry coefficient basically means is "however willing people say they are to accept you, you should multiply that value by the PBC to come up with what people believe other people are actually willing to accept."

One result is that even though Mormons have the lowest percentage of people who say America is ready for a Mormon president (35%), it's Hispanics who have the smallest PBC.

An important point is that the PBC is based on what other people perceive ... people don't think they're racist, but suspect others are.

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