There are many pundits who are wedded to the idea that America is full of closeted white racists who are making this potential Democratic landslide in the Presidential race much closer than it should be. The facts show that they are letting their ideology dominate their common sense.
It is clear that the enthusiasm for Obama from the media, young voters, liberals, and many African Americans is based in part on voting for a black man.
Gallup has some information to show there is a small net benefit to Obama being black:
There is a net +1 for McCain's race
There is a net +3 for Obama's race
Interestingly, we need to find to the true impact of race on Obama's vote share:
How many people who otherwise wouldn't vote or would have voted otherwise are now voting for Obama because of race - (minus) How many people who otherwise won't vote or are voting for McCain?
It is difficult to figure out and must be arrived at through estimate and logic but that is the appropriate metric.
From everything I've seen from media pundits, to crowd size, to internet chatter/traffic at certain sites, to general observations (such as watching Oprah choose a candidate) it is clear to me that Obama benefits from being a black candidate in 2008.
I'm not saying this is a generic benefit that would be available for every black candidate, I'm saying it is an Obama effect.
making the word "liberal" safe again!