Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Obama's America: A new poll indicates that Americans believe race relations are at their worst in more than two decades
The CBS News/New York Times poll said that 61% of Americans characterize race relations in the United States as “bad,” including a majority of white and black respondents. The figure is the highest since 1992. A total of 79% of African-Americans believe that police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than against a white person, while 53% of whites believe that race does not play a role, the survey said. Black respondents were also more likely than white respondents to believe that their local police make them feel anxious rather than safe, the poll said. This was the first time since 1997 that majorities of both white and black Americans believe that race relations in the United States are poor, the poll said. Opinions among white Americans have grown sharply more negative in the poll even compared with earlier in 2015 – with 62% of whites saying that race relations are bad compared with just 35% in February 2015. Black respondents have historically had a more negative view than white respondents about race relations, but the level of pessimism is now similar, according to the poll. Also, fewer than one in five white Americans think that race relations are getting better – with 44% responding that relations are getting worse and 37% saying that they’re staying about the same. Most respondents – 64% of whites and 57% of blacks – thought that the unrest in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death was not justified, the poll said. Six in 10 respondents had a lot or some confidence that the investigation into Gray’s death would be conducted fairly, but the figure was split along racial lines, the poll said. A total of 64% of whites say they have at least some confidence in a fair investigation, but 52% of blacks have little or no such confidence, the poll said. In terms of views of police officers in their community, three in four respondents said that the presence of officers makes them feel safe. But the figure is again split down racial lines – with eight in 10 white respondents saying that police officers mostly make them feel safe, compared with 51% for black respondents.