Brazil has an “African-origin” population that is proportionally more than four times larger that of African Americans in the United States, but white Brazilians mostly dominate electoral politics. How do ordinary citizens explain this phenomenon? Drawing on a large-sample survey of public opinion in the state of Rio de Janeiro, this article explores perceived explanations for nonwhite underrepresentation in the political arena. It also examines attitudes toward a particular black candidate, Benedita da Silva, to discern the state of negro identity politics. Most Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro cite racial prejudice to explain nonwhite exclusion, although whites do this less than nonwhites. Indicators of a racial undercurrent in political preferences suggest the importance of allegiances based on perceived common racial origins. Class is robustly associated with voting preferences, suggesting that, in contrast to the United States, class differences among nonwhites in Brazil could attenuate the success of negro identity politics.