DISCLAIMER: Stories are not endorsements. I try to report as fairly as possible. I’m writing this blog post because I believe that these facets of the story have not yet been explored thoroughly.
Onlookers wondered why these questions were being asked in an exit poll. WSPA soon reported that the questions were part of a study to see if, “race has no bearing on whether whites vote for political candidates.”
Dr. David Woodard, the professor who conducted the research, explained further to WSPA:
“It was designed to take advantage of a political moment of Senator Tim Scott’s election as the first African-American from a southern state since reconstruction,” said Woodard. “It was not designed to be provocative.”
Dr. Woodard also mentioned that these questions have been used “for decades”. The questions included in the exit poll, such as, “Blacks are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights”, are some of the questions used in a Modern Racism test. Modern racism is, as this document describes it, “characterized by beliefs that racism is not a continuing problem, that African Americans should not put forth their own efforts to overcome their situation in society without special assistance”. Said modern racism tests are used to judge the thoughts and opinions of various demographics, such as white voters.
This is an example of one test that uses the exact wording of one of the exit poll questions. This test is just one of several others, including Modern Sexism tests, as well as weight-based discrimination tests. I’ve found that this link is the best descriptor of the items mentioned above. You’ll see, pictured below, the same wording and similar questions. Below the “Modern Racism” section is the “Modern Sexism” section, which includes questions such as, “Discrimination against women is no longer a problem in the United States”.
There are also “Old-Fashioned Racism/Sexism” questions, which are much more blatant in their racist/sexist thoughts: “Black people are generally not as smart as whites”.
Hopefully this answers questions about the origins of the exit poll and why those specific questions made an appearance. Please do not hesitate to ask questions and start discussion in the comments section below.