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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 01/17/2011

About a third of Americans say Obama's presidency has improved race relations

Despite high public expectations that Barack Obama's presidency would improve race relations in the country, barely more than a third of all Americans now say his tenure has made things better in this area, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Overall, 35 percent say Obama has helped race relations; down from 58 percent who, in January 2009, expected them to improve as a result of the country's having its first black president. And blacks and whites continue to have starkly different assessments about how African Americans are faring in America today when it comes to the racial equality championed by Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Q: Do you think Obama's presidency has done more to (help) or more to (hurt) race relations in this country, or has it not made much of a difference?

                            Hasn't made       No
            Help   Hurt   much difference   opinion
1/16/11      35     14          49             2
1/15/10      41     12          47             *
1/4/09*      58      7          28             7
6/15/08**    42     15          40             3   

Blacks
 1/16/11     51      9          40             0
 1/15/10     51      4          44             1
 1/4/09      75      3          18             3
 6/15/08     60      8          31             2

Whites
 1/16/11     31     16          51             2
 1/15/10     40     12          48             *
 1/4/09      55      7          31             8
 6/15/08     38     17          43             2
* "...Obama's presidency will do more..."
** "...Obama's candidacy will do more..."

Q: Do you think blacks (have achieved racial equality, will soon achieve racial equality, will not achieve racial equality in your lifetime, or will never achieve racial equality)?

            Have     Will    Not in    Will      No
          achieved   soon   lifetime   never   opinion
1/16/11      42       29       18        6        4
1/15/10      37       31       19        8        4
1/16/09      35       38       17        6        3
9/14/08      32       37       20        5        6

Blacks
 1/16/11     19       33       34       11        3
 1/15/10     11       38       32       17        3
 1/16/09     20       36       23       18        3 
 9/14/08     11       41       30       14        4

Whites
 1/16/11     47       27       16        5        5
 1/15/10     40       31       19        7        4
 1/16/09     38       38       17        5        3 
 9/14/08     39       36       18        2        5

By and  |  11:25 AM ET, 01/17/2011

Categories:  Barack Obama, Barack Obama

 
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