Friday, September 12, 2008

What small-town America is saying about Obama | Salon News:

For three months during this summer and early fall, I've been traveling across America, exploring the nation's small towns and rural areas and meeting the people there. From Michigan to New Mexico to North Carolina, I've conducted dozens of interviews with white working-class voters across 18 states, gauging, among other things, their thoughts and feelings about the first black man to have a serious shot at winning the White House. Beyond Obama's race, what I found was a more complicated set of concerns -- whether accurately informed or not -- about his religious faith, values and cultural and educational background. That is, many of these white rural voters expressed a discomfort that may have more to do with unfamiliarity about the type of person Barack Obama is, rather than with direct concerns about his race.

Although I encountered a scattering of openly racist views, they were among a small minority. (These voters would probably never vote for a Democrat for president anyway.) Many voters dismissed the notion that hesitancy about Obama is due to his race.

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