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Offensive Exit Polls Tarnish Black South Carolina Senator’s Historic Election

Tim Scott Senator of South Carolina What should have been a celebratory moment for Black people in the South has been tarnished by a racist exit poll that asked respondents to judge whether Blacks are way too “demanding in their push for equal rights.”

Tuesday’s election may have handed Congressional power over to the GOP, but it also ushered in several Black politicians who will go down in history – like South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the first African-American senator to be elected in the South since the Reconstruction era.

But soon after he celebrated his historic win, it was revealed that voters responding to exit polls in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg were asked a series of questions about whether Black people are going too far in their fight for equality.

One voter posted an image of the questionnaire on Twitter, showing one section were voters were supposed to “agree” or “disagree” with the statement “Blacks are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights.”

The user called the poll “shameful.”

The man behind the racially charged questions is David Woodard, a political scientist at Clemson University who insists he meant no harm by including the questions on the poll.

“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,” he told WSPA. “It was not designed to be provocative.”

That’s certainly not the impression it left on voters.

“I didn’t answer some of the questions,” one Facebook user from on WSPA’s Facebook page. “They were overtly racist.”

B1sEQ1LCMAAy7zQAnother commenter said she thought the questions were jokes because there was “no way” someone could seriously put those questions on an exit poll and not think they would be offensive.

One Twitter user pointed out the cruel irony behind the questions and the historial election.

“This is the 1ST black prson to b elected since RECONSTRUCTION [era],” they said in a series of tweets. “& u hve the nerve to say we’re being pushy? Not pushy enough apparently.”

Woodard tried to defend the poll by saying he asked those kinds of questions every day when conducting research and never had a problem.

“We do this every day,” he said. “We didn’t think too much about it until we got it out in the field and saw that there was some reaction.”

Even Paul White Jr., a doctoral candidate in political science from University of South Carolina who partnered with Woodard on the project, said the reactions were unanimous across all demographics.

“You had liberals getting offended,” White said. “You had conservatives getting offended. It was all over the place.”

Despite the controversy, White and Woodard plan to continue with the study and publish their findings in January.


What people are saying

6 thoughts on “Offensive Exit Polls Tarnish Black South Carolina Senator’s Historic Election

  1. Davis Morris says:

    What's so important about the election of one black man since reconstruction it's shameful really and blacks should be looking at that.

  2. Josh Benson says:

    Everybody gets butthurt about everything. This country is so pussified.

  3. John Lindsay says:

    I'm quite sure "Blacks ARE looking at that."

    Your statement should be aimed at the pollsters….NOT Blacks.

  4. Farntella Graham says:

    this is my last post for the night: we are revisiting these issues because for the last 50 years, since the assassination of dr king and president kennedy, it is as if the government was usurped and everything the people worked and died for became for nothing. the agenda of stability between the races died with those assassinations. this is all by design and deliberate. imagine, asking ridiculous questions like that in 2014? we been down this road before in america.we had a civil rights movement that was on the way to resolving the problem. now, the question becomes what happen to stop all of that and who is responsible for it happening like this.

  5. When a country is still dealing with the task of attempting to solve yesteryears issues, it is not indicative of progress but rather stagnation. African people have to stop trying to fix a broken system by injecting themselves in it. In the end you sit back and complain about how it is not working in your favor. If this system at its foundation was created to exclude you, any floors built upon an exclusionary foundation will crumble because the base is weak. There was a time when there were black officials in many areas of government even during what was considered a more racially intense time period, and what happened? We are still dealing with the same shit. A black man/woman gets elected into a political office means nothing because they have to continue to perpetuate the system that is in place. African people must concern themselves with being culturally, educationally and economically independent first before we can focus on being politically inclusive without establishing our base first, you end up looking like beggars. Today is about money, Super PACs and private investors control outcomes. No money, no voice, no influence and no change. The most damaging attack on African economics for American Africans was integration. Where are our businesses now, where are our schools now, where and what is our culture now? Integration was not to benefit you African, it was to have you to voluntarily disenfranchise yourself. Now look at the communities we were raised in, and some of us live in communities with a lot of "black officials" and still the communities look dilapidated. Fix your house African before interjecting yourself in another's, because you will reap what you sow.

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