Racial Prejudice Predicts Opposition to Obama and His Health Care Reform Plan

Racial Prejudice Predicts Opposition to Obama and His Health Care Reform Plan

By
Eric D. Knowles, Brian Lowery, Rebecca L Schaumberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. March
2010, Vol. 46, Issue 2, Pages 420–423

The present study examines the relationship between racial prejudice and reactions to President Barack Obama and his policies. Before the 2008 election, participants’ levels of implicit and explicit anti-Black prejudice were measured. Over the following days and months, voting behavior, attitudes toward Obama, and attitudes toward Obama’s health care reform plan were assessed. Controlling for explicit prejudice, implicit prejudice predicted a reluctance to vote for Obama, opposition to his health care reform plan, and endorsement of specific concerns about the plan. In an experiment, the association between implicit prejudice and opposition to health care reform replicated when the plan was attributed to Obama, but not to Bill Clinton—suggesting that individuals high in anti-Black prejudice tended to oppose Obama at least in part because they dislike him as a Black person. In sum, our data support the notion that racial prejudice is one factor driving opposition to Obama and his policies.