Ohio Is Racist, Says Harvard Study


Now that we're (finally) in the end stretch of the presidential election, all different species of barstool theories are getting tossed around about what could possible influence the outcome. How will Obama's debate belly-flop nudge the numbers? Can Romney escape the empty chair stagecraft? Will Paul Ryan's chiseled abs turn off overweight voters?

Among the ideas bubbling up to the surface is this 10-ton elephant hulking in the corner again: Will people not vote for Obama because he's black?

Harvard grad student Seth Stephens-Davidowitz decided to see if race does in fact play a role in political choices in certain states. The bad news is that it does, and that by the study's metrics, Ohio is among the most racist states in the nation.

According to the New York Times piece penned by Stephens-Davidowitz, the research involved boils down to what people punch into Google in private. The author examined the use of racist language in online searches, then compared areas with a high frequency of this racist language with the 2004 and 2008 voting patterns. The author hypothesizes a guy or gal who floats racist jargon in the privacy of his or her computer room will allow similar prejudices to grab the steering wheel in the voting booth.

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