How Racist Are We? Ask Google

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times, June 9, 2012

Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 and 365 electoral votes, 95 more than he needed. Many naturally concluded that prejudice was not a major factor against a black presidential candidate in modern America. My research, a comparison of Americans’ Google searches and their voting patterns, found otherwise. If my results are correct, racial animus cost Mr. Obama many more votes than we may have realized.

{snip} So I used a new tool, Google Insights, which tells researchers how often words are searched in different parts of the United States.

Can we really quantify racial prejudice in different parts of the country based solely on how often certain words are used on Google? Not perfectly, but remarkably well. {snip}


{snip} I performed the somewhat unpleasant task of ranking states and media markets in the United States based on the proportion of their Google searches that included the word “nigger(s).” {snip}

A huge proportion of the searches I looked at were for jokes about African-Americans. {snip} I used data from 2004 to 2007 because I wanted a measure not directly influenced by feelings toward Mr. Obama. {snip}

The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi.

Once I figured out which parts of the country had the highest racially charged search rates, I could test whether Mr. Obama underperformed in these areas. I predicted how many votes Mr. Obama should have received based on how many votes John Kerry received in 2004 plus the average gain achieved by other 2008 Democratic Congressional candidates. The results were striking: The higher the racially charged search rate in an area, the worse Mr. Obama did.


Add up the totals throughout the country, and racial animus cost Mr. Obama three to five percentage points of the popular vote. In other words, racial prejudice gave John McCain the equivalent of a home-state advantage nationally.

Yes, Mr. Obama also gained some votes because of his race. But in the general election this effect was comparatively minor. The vast majority of voters for whom Mr. Obama’s race was a positive were liberal, habitual voters who would have voted for any Democratic presidential candidate. Increased support and turnout from African-Americans added only about one percentage point to Mr. Obama’s totals.


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  • On the one hand, the Bradley Effect has not disappeared.

    On the other hand, note this:

    The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country
    was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included
    western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and
    southern Mississippi.

    It did not result in any state voting any differently than it otherwise would have even if you plug a generic white Democrat in Obama’s place.  Bush won WV in both 2000 and 2004, MS has voted Republican consistently in Presidential elections since 1980, and PA, OH and NY were Obama states.

    Maybe Missouri, which McCain carried by 0.1%, would have been blue.

    • Yes, the Bradley Effect is still around. It will always be around to some degree because Humans are by nature tribal creatures.  But on the other hand, there is a “Reverse Bradley Effect” at play as well, that goes a long way toward counter-balancing the Bradley effect…if not actually exceding it.

    • Bo_Sears

       The Bradley Effect is not voting in alignment with your demographic, it is lying to pollsters about your plans to vote for the more liberal candidate to look good to the pollster, and then voting for the other guy in the privacy of the voting booth.

      The Bradley Effect was widely noised about by those who smear the diverse white Americans as Eugene Robinson and pals did in 2008, but was denounced as a fiction by a former campaign worker on the Bradley campaign in a NYT news article published on October 19, 2008.

      The discredited Bradley Effect simply accuses us of lying to pollsters, not of voting by demographic affinity.

      • The__Bobster

        In cases, such as Tom Bradley in L.A., where the black mayor did his fulfill his duties in a racially fair manner. Bradley, first elected in 1973, went on to win four more terms.

        In contrast, in cases where the black mayors ruled like racial chieftains, such as Coleman Young in Detroit, whites fled. Or, in the case of Marion Barry in D.C., got the feds to stage a municipal coup. Or, whites regrouped and stopped electing Democrats, as in the last five mayoral elections in New York City.

        In general, the poor performance of black mayors, and, especially, black voters in choosing Marion Barrys (who was re-elected mayor after he got out of jail) has hurt the black brand. How many black governors and U.S. Senators are there at present?

    • MikeofAges

       The Bradley effect never existed. Tom Bradley was a lousy candidate. Bradley, actually, was a centrist Democrat with the charisma of a turnip. He lost because he lost. No evidence of the Bradley effect in any other political race involving a black candidate, including 2008. If there was any evidence the Bradley effect was real, it wouldn’t be called the Bradley effect.

  • And of course not a word about the racial bias that prompted many people to vote FOR Obama.  I’m not just talking about the black community who voted for him in huge numbers out of racial solidarity/loyalty, and would have done so even had he been the second coming of Idi Amin Dada.    I’m talking about the guilt infected Whites who voted for him just to prove they were not “racist”. 

    You don’t know how mant times in late 2008 I heard some leftist or moderate talk about how they were “tired of White men always winning the office” and the like.  I would submit that the numbers of those who voted for Obama based primarily or solely because of his race was at least equal to or perhaps greater than those who voted against him because he was black.

    •  You know you else was “tired” of White men in office?  The people of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and the people of South Africa.  How did that work out for them?  I find it most peculiar (not really) that the same whites who say it’s a global atrocity for a minority population (whites) to rule over majority population (blacks), but actively support and encourage Non-White rule over Whites.  How can you hold these contradictory ideas in your head at the same time and still function?  How can ANY White person admit that they are “tired of White rule?”  We all know they are full of it, just ask any one of these “enlightened” whites to go live under Non White rule in say Africa, Nicaragua, Yemen or Saudi Arabia.

  • haroldcrews

    I think of myself as a race realist but have never once searched in any search engine using the term they searched.

    • Someone looking up N-word jokes on the interwebs??
      Whoops, sorry, that was me. Those are some pretty funny jokes.

  • mikejones91

    Of course by WE, they mean US. The only time “THEY” label US, as WE. 

  • MekongDelta69

    Remember – this is the New York Times. Ok? If NoBama stopped short, their noses would be brown. They’ve been hyper-liberal for some 80 years now, going back to Walter Duranty winning the Pulitzer Prize for denying that Stalin killed 40(50?) million people.

    Also, Google (and every other major Internet site – MSN, Yahoo, AOL, you name it), are completely liberal. Any search done about any ‘controversial’ subject will return page after page of liberal sites, before you run across a conservative POV.

    • Bo_Sears

      MD69 is correct about the religious and national origin murdering spree ordered by Stalin.  But at Resisting Defamation, we’ve learned to refer to this genocidal madness as murders by Stalin’s Willing Executioners.

      The other side has taught us to blame Stalin personally, but in fact it was his Willing Executioners who did the killing so exuberantly. 

  • what a silly article.

    it doesnt deserve acknpwledgement, just derision

  • mikejones91

    They forgot to mention Obama won P.A. 

  • Obama sat in the pews of Rev.Wright’s black separatist church for over 20 years, during  which time he was treated to some of the most vile anti-White rhetoric imaginable. Yet, White Americans have been declared “racists” if they do not support this black Marxist and his radical policies.

    So typical….

  • Francis Galton

    Despite being the butt of many ignorant people’s jokes, West Virginia should hold a lot of appeal for Amreners and White racial realists in general.  It is one of the Whitest states in America (93.2 percent in 2010), it has the lowest percentage of foreign-born people of ANY state (only 1.1 percent!), it has the lowest proportion of people whose primary language is not English (2.7 percent), and there are virtually NO diversity-ghetto areas in the entire state!  Now, I’m only familiar with the northern and central areas of the state (Morgantown, Fairmont, Moundsville, and Berkeley Springs in particular), but from what I have seen the state is rather civilized and quaint, even with its economic poverty.

    As an aside, I am really curious to know why it is that all the states that border WV (with the possible exception of KY) have such large amounts of voodoo diversity: Virginia has Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Petersburg, and more; Maryland has Bulletmore and Pauper George’s County; Pennsylvania has Kiladelphia, Harrisburg, Chester, Allentown, and more; and Ohio has Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and maybe more.

    What causes non-Whites to avoid WV in general?  Whatever it is, it needs to be implemented in as many states and municipalities as possible.  Or perhaps it is simply one of those many alleged “accidents” of history we hear about so often? 

    • I can perhaps answer that…

      Kentuckians and W. Virginians have traditionally been either overlooked or derided as being shoeless, toothless hayseeds.  Both states are largely still agrarian, if you discount the Toyota plant in Ky. and the coal industry over in Pikeville.  Vast tracts of both states are dirt-floor poor, but proud and very clannish.

      Since Kentucky is half mountains and W. VA. is almost all mountains, that doesn’t lend itself well to building up large industries or large cities.  No large cities = nothing to attract the Uruk (except Louisville, which can be counted on to be represented well on the show First 48).  Since Ky and W. Va are both “poor” states, welfare isn’t generous.  No generous welfare = no Uruk or Goblins.

      Agrarian + largely poor + no generous welfare = Not so many Uruk or Goblins.

      We get Goblins (my new word for Hispanics and/or Mexicans) around planting and harvest, but they move on to other agrarian states and take their spawn with them.  The Uruk who are here (excepting Louisville) are pretty much stuck here and are “generally” well-behaved…. mostly because they’re outnumbered and the traditional whites in Kentucky “don’t take no s**t offa no n’groes”.  Add to that Shall Issue CCW’s, Stand Your Ground and everyone being armed better than the average Rifle Platoon, and it’s a pretty unpleasant place for any Uruk or Goblin who wants to prey on whites…

      Uruk and Goblins don’t think either Kentucky or W. VA. is “cool” either….

      Good.  We can be “uncool” all day no problem if it keeps the Uruk and Goblins and other Diversities away…

      EDIT: I do not know how true this is, as I am going on heresay by others who MIGHT know, but The Klan is active here in Kentucky…. also, there have been White Nationalist rallies down in the SouthWest portion of the Commonwealth… not sure which WN groups attended, but I remember hearing something about that… I’m pretty sure that has something to do with the Diversities shying away from the Bluegrass and W. VA.

      •  Check out these photos:

        • That IKA sign is CLASSIC!


          There is, really and for true, still a sign here in Kentucky that says: “N*****, don’t let the sun set on you here.”  I forget where it is, exactly, but it is taken to heart…

          Bit disappointing about Mammoth Cave.  I was 11 the last time I was there (33 years ago) and the emphasis was on the Confederate effort to mine saltpetre in the caves to keep the war effort going (saltpetre is a componant of Black Powder), how the caves were formed, etc… they even shot a flaming arrow into the darkness to show us how far the caves went.

          Exactly NOTHING was mentioned about slavery or anything to do with Uruks… ah, to be 11 again…

        • Sherman_McCoy

          You know Reuben, whenever some of my fellow posters start in on “dajooz” I feel it necessary to opine about da Jooz like Youz.  But I feel like Abraham trying to talk God out of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.  OK, if you can find 100 non-white-hating-conservative-racially-aware-Jewish-folks, will You not destroy them?  OK, OK, how about 90?  80?  70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10?

          You pal, 


          • Thanks for the kind words!

            The challenge might be easier if we count as “Jewish” anybody with even one Jewish ancestor – as so many of the anti-Jewish crowd do. 

      • Memphomaniac

        I have given the matter a bit of thought and I cannot think of any place in the USA that has a significant black population AND mountains. The major mountain chains in this country have no blacks to speak of (or mexicans either) for that matter. It could be argued that black and mex avoid poverty areas, but I am not certain that explains it. Both seem to bring quite a bit of poverty with them no matter where they go.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    I wonder how many “racist” were Goggling  the N word looking for rap lyrics?

  • Article has it completely backwards.  In 2008, Americans voted for the Jackie Robinson who can’t hit because they wanted to have the First Black President.

  • The state with the highest racially charged search rate in the country was West Virginia. Other areas with high percentages included western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, upstate New York and southern Mississippi.
    New York is a Democrat state, the bluest of the blue.
    As with alleged hate crimes and hoaxes, you can’t know the motive of the person without identifying the person to uncover their motive.
    Are these racist joke searches being done only by racists or are they being done by blacks who are curious about racist jokes? 
    I believe this person didn’t go far enough in his research by sorting out exactly who is performing these searches and why.

  • “How racist” am I?  EXTREMELY SO!!!

    As for the article; pure garbage.  To remark on racism based on a word that blacks themselves use when referring to each other is ridiculous in my opinion.  As for the States, I tend to believe it’s Alive and Well in every State, God Willing.

    As for not Voting for obama because he’s black, yes.  Even if there wasn’t all that stuff about obama (insults about Pennsylvanians, his White Grandmother, him being muslim, ayers, etc.) I still would not have Voted for him and for nothing but his being black.  I will not allow any non-white to Rule over me.

    • Sherman_McCoy

      Ta know, Stef, I would have disagreed with you back when I voted for Alan Keyes in a Republican primary (back in 2000, maybe).

      But then he came out for reparations . . .

      • Non-Whites are ALWAYS and ONLY for Non-Whites.  You know this Sir.  rubio is a fine example.  “Republican” they call him but what he really is is “hispanic/latino”, “cuban”.  In short, rubio is just another non-white who expects White People to make even more room for them and pay for them aka the ‘republican style amnesty’ (republican style dream act).

        Last Note:  I’m a Genuine Racist.  I would not even consider giving thought to thinking about Voting for a Non-White.  Cain’t do it.  Unnatural.  Against the Grain. Wrong.  Awkward.  Backwards.  Just flat out and in every way possible, wrong, unnatural, wrong and just wrong and unnatural.  Backwards is Foremost though and here is why:

        To cast a Vote for one of a race that has yet to prove their Worthiness is a Vote to send oneself back to Third World Ways or be turned into a Slave of a Master of the worse kind.

        I don’t mean to be mean here but I cannot stand down from what I believe.  We are under siege as so many before and after I have written and in a thousand different ways.  It’s White or Bust at this point I’m afraid to say… 

        • Sherman_McCoy

          Nothing wrong with being a racist.  I have also become a proud one.  It just makes good sense to judge that way.  Much safer, and simplifies how to choose friends and identify enemies.

          So, don’t be afraid to say it!

          • I’m Racist because when I look at White People vs. Everyone Else, The White Peoples are clearly better.  I know nothing about History or anything for that matter but I can tell ya this, The White Peoples are far more advanced in literally, everything than all the other races combined.  Yes, I’m Racist and for damn Good Reason too.

            By the way, Welcome Aboard!  The best part of being Racist is Knowing your Own Created the Best of the Best in ALL Areas of Life.  There is nothing wrong with bragging about the Fact that ALL that ALL People enjoy just happened to be, Created by White Men and White Ladies.

        • Bon, From the Land of Babble


          You are not being mean; you are being honest and you shouldn’t step down ever from your beliefs because you are 100% correct.

          Being a racist is 100% normal and natural and accepted for every single ethnic and racial group except for Whites.  Remember what LaRaza means and stands for — and that this group is heavily funded and government approved to practice  overt racism against Whites.  Ditto for blacks and now Asians and East Indians are jumping into the racial spoils system, with both feet.

          Pity so few Whites see it, no thanks to the American media which cover up black malfeasance forcing us to get VITAL info about black crime from the British press.  But, the American media are encouraging and celebrate White genocide against our people.

          It will take until the end, when it’s too late, when we Whites under the thumbs of non-White overlords who believe the only good White is one that is dead.  Do I believe it will come to this?  Yes. It is already happening.

          I only wish more Whites had your passion and courage to begin to turn this around, but I’m not holding out much hope.


          • do I believe – You’re right just like you’ve always been.

            Asians have no history here, none, yet they get Minority Privilege.  Why?  Wasn’t the whole Civil Rights and Minority Privilege for blacks who had been victims of racism?  And why are blacks/non-whites getting Minority Privilege when they have never suffered at the hands of White People and why do White People act as though racism (just a belief according to Webster’s) is worse than murder, rape, theft, fraud, actual crime?

            I know this sounds awful but I’m so daggone fed up right now, I wouldn’t help most White People at this point.  My family caused me to be this way.  My sister can’t explain to me why hispanics are allowed to be loud and proud but I can’t.  We no longer talk.  My nephew took my flag picture off of his facebook page because a black friend of his complained about it (I unfriended and blocked him when I saw that) and my other sister babbled on about love.  I couldn’t take that.  Love my ass.  What kills me is, she was standing there too when that negro was laughing at our Mother as she was being loaded into the ambulance.  Selective memory I reckon.  Well, I won’t be remembering neither should she dare come knocking on my door asking for help.

            genocide – I actually had someone tell me, “it happens” as if that’s supposed to make it all okay and that it’s just the natural order of things.  I was aghast.  What he failed to acknowledge is that the reason they disappeared is because of immigration.  Those races were first flooded with Foreigners and then out bred and what was left of them was bred out.  That’s not natural, that’s on purpose.  It’s done in order to steal the original people’s land and everything they built but you already know this.

            How do we get White People to understand that we too have a Right to Life?  For something that should be natural, it’s like impossible to get them to understand they’re not obligated to give up their Life and Culture so some Third World Alien can have it.

      • Anon12

         THEY are all alike.  Keyes is no different than any other black and I don’t care what they say.  Same with Allen West.  Blacks will stick with their own race and we should all know that by now.  I am like Stephanie, I will never vote for a black and that includes voting for any NONwhite, period. To me, that is the same as being a race traitor. No difference.

        • I agree.  I also consider it to be Race Traitor.  You simply cannot turn your back on your own kind no matter.  Yes, we have our bad apples but that is no excuse to choose a non-white.  I can’t explain how unnatural it is to choose a non-white over your own.  It’s just… alien.

  • xxxtonygunsxxx

    michael savage just said a black sucker punched this guy who died and
    the media wont report it was a black who hit him so i am telling you so
    you know!! WAKE UP WHITE PEOPLE. WE ARE IN A RACE WAR. PREPARE …….prepare. its not GOING to happen  IT IS happening

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Yeah, right Seth.  Whites put him in office.  You’re trying to tell us that every White that didn’t vote for 0bama is a racist yet 97% of blacks voting for 0bama is not racist. Thankfully,  those Whites who voted for 0bama see their country being torn apart, the economy in tatters and the overt racism against Whites coming from this administration and have changed their minds.

    0bama’s election campaign was kicked off with the railroading of Zimmerman, this is another manufactured story about racist Whites and there will be many more to come as 0bama gets more desperate.

    Comment from the article:

    Google hyphenated + idiot and you get:

    Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

  • Gene Dandy

    Obama wouldn’t have won the Democratic nomination if he wasn’t black. He had Hillary had the same policy prescriptions on everything. Yet Obama got the nomination on the strength of the monolithic black vote. Don’t tell me white racists hurt Obama. He wouldn’t be president if so many black people hadn’t voted for him in the primary simply due to his skin color.

    • Yet Obama got the nomination on the strength of the monolithic black vote.

      I disagree.
      While it’s true that the black vote is extremely one sided for Democrat candidates and was even more so for Obama, when you get right down to it in the big picture the black vote is not all that important.   Blacks are but 13% of the population and of all the demographic groups in the US they have the lowest percentage of actual voter turn out.   They also do a bang up job of disenfranchising themselves with their criminal activity keeping large numbers of them as felons unable to vote.  I would be suprised if more than three or four percent of the overall votes cast were by black voters.
      But they are a vocal and highly visible minority, so they get more attention than they warrent as far as a voting block.

      Make no mistake about it.  It was White  leftists falling all over themselves to vote for a black candidate and guilty Whites trying to prove to themselves that they were not “racists” by voting for the black guy that swept Obama into office.

      But you are correct in one thing: Obama is there ONLY because of his race.

  • Gene Dandy

    There’s a good reason Obama didn’t win western Pennsylvania. Obama went to a hill top mansion in San Francisco and told all the liberals there that the white working class folks from Pennsylvania clung to their guns and religion because they didn’t have any jobs. He didn’t know how right he was. When government policy leaves you with nothing, you cling to whatever government can’t take away. Obama’s mistake was to regard this as a failing rather than a virtue.

  • JackKrak

    Not surprised that the NYT guy didn’t mention that 4 of the 5 states he listed have reliably elected brain-dead Democrats for decades.

  • Anon12

     How Racist Are We? Ask Google,

    I am, so what?  I am also a bigot and homophobe.

    Next question……

  • Anon12

     Don’t tell the media……

  • BobWhitakerisokay

    So, why is this information being produced? It would seem that  anti-Whites are bracing for an Obama defeat and are going to blame it on the ONLY logical reason they know: evil “racist” whitey. As usual, anti-Whites give a pass to blacks for their incompetence, inferior ability and hatred of White people. It’s those damned redneck, White working class “racists” holding blacks down! If not for evil whitey blacks would be producing Mozarts, Newtons, Teslas and von Browns by now. In fact, Obama is a towering genius fated to defeat due to one thing and one thing only: institutional White “racism”.

    They say they are anti-racist but what they are is anti-White.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

  • .

    I generally like Freakonomics because it provides some interesting ways to look at things from a unique economic perspective. Having said that, I don’t always agree with their arguments. In this case, it seems presumptuous to assume that googling something would translate to “racial animus costing Obama votes”. Not that there wasn’t some Bradley Effect in play as others have pointed out. But what about all the voters who voted for him due to racial animus?

  • Anon12

     I will never be embarrased or shamed into being a racist

    I meant to say “into NOT being a racist”….

  • Sheila Dinehart

    ha ha…i knew i only had to read this again to figure out exactly what this guy is saying and i did…or he did:

    “The vast majority of voters for whom Mr. Obama’s race was a positive were liberal, habitual voters who would have voted for any Democratic presidential candidate. Increased support and turnout from African-Americans added only about one percentage point to Mr. Obama’s totals.”

    reminding the world again that the so-called white liberal (read lefty) is the real and time proven friend of the down trodden and oppressed negro…ha and why do they find it to the point of desperation to keep saying this?

    They know the negro has always been suspicious of them…and should be.

    la la…thanks for posting this article…so i am reminded once again of just how slimy, snivelling, genuflecting, and dangerous the radical left america hating white guilt promoting perverts (THE NEW YORK TIMES) really are…a warm and fuzzy feeling just knowing some things never change.