Poll: Americans Still Divided Over Race

Tracy Martin (second from left) and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's parents(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Tracy Martin (second from left) and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's parents(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Daily Beast is reporting on Tuesday on what it calls "America’s persistent racial divide" and the numbers that back it up. Eighty-nine percent of blacks and 80 percent of whites are on board with the idea that racial stereotyping still occurs in America today.


But when it comes to how stereotyping actually affects people's lives, things get complicated: Seventy percent of whites think that blacks have an equal shot at affordable housing; only 35 percent of blacks say the same. Seventy percent of whites believe that the two races receive equal treatment in the job market; a mere 25 percent of blacks concur.

And there's a reality check for those who thought that President Obama's election was going to guide the country to a postracial paradise: Many think things have stayed the same or gotten worse since he took office.

From the Daily Beast:

A new Newsweek poll puts this remarkable shift in stark relief for the first time. Back in 2008, 52 percent of Americans told Pew Research Center that they expected race relations to get better as a result of Obama’s election; only 9 percent anticipated a decline. But today that 43-point gap has vanished. According to the Newsweek survey, only 32 percent of Americans now think that race relations have improved since the president’s inauguration; roughly the same number (30 percent) believe they have gotten worse. Factor in those who say nothing has changed and the result is staggering: nearly 60 percent of Americans are now convinced that race relations have either deteriorated or stagnated under Obama.

Whites are especially critical of Obama’s approach: a majority (51 percent) actually believe he’s been unhelpful in bridging the country’s racial divide. Even blacks have concluded, by a 20-point margin, that race relations have not improved on Obama’s watch.

Perhaps some of the results could be explained by the idea that Obama's election created higher expectations for racial harmony, making any evidence that we're not quite there yet look that much worse by comparison. In any case, while the pessimism expressed by the poll isn't great news, it at least suggests that Americans are paying attention to the "persistent divide," which could possibly — hopefully — be the first real step toward closing it.


Read more at the Daily Beast.