Washington Post Poll: The legacy of Martin Luther King's 'Dream' speech

This Washington Post poll was conducted among random national samples of 1,001 adults from July 28 31 and 88 adults from August 4 7 for a combined sample of 1,089 adults. Interviews were conducted among users of both conventional and cellular phones. The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; among the 187 African Americans the margin of sampling error is plus or minus eight percentage points; among the 743 non-Hispanic whites the margin of sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) of Princeton, NJ.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Martin Luther King gave his famous 'I Have a Dream Speech' at a civil rights march in Washington in 1963. In your view, do you think the United States has fulfilled the vision King outlined in that speech, or don't you think so?

                        Has not    (Vol.) Unfamiliar     No
           Fulfilled   fulfilled    with King/speech   opinion
8/7/11         34          55              1             10
1/16/11*       48          49              1              2
12/20/09       51          47              1              1
1/15/09        49          49              1              *
4/2/08         34          59              4              3
*1/16/11 and previous CNN.

Among blacks:

8/7/11         36          56              *              7
12/20/09       52          47              0              1
1/15/09        65          35              *              0
4/2/08         35          60              4              4   

Among whites:

8/7/11         30          57              2             11 
1/16/11        47          50              1              2
12/20/09       50          48              1              1 
1/15/09        46          52              1              *
4/2/08         35          58              4              3

1a. (IF NOT FULFILLED) Do you think the United States can eventually fulfill the vision in Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, or don't you think so?

         Yes, can eventually    No, will not     No
             be fulfilled       be fulfilled   opinion
8/7/11            52                  39          9 
1/16/11*          52                  46          3 
12/20/09          64                  35          1 
1/15/09           67                  33          * 
4/2/08            65                  31          3 
*1/16/11 and previous CNN.

Among blacks:
8/7/11            48                  46          6
12/20/09          66                  32          2 
1/15/09           84                  15          1  
4/2/08            63                  35          2 

Among whites:
8/7/11            52                  38         10 
1/16/11           56                  43          1
12/20/09          61                  38          1
1/15/09           65                  35          1  
4/2/08            68                  29          3

2. Thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. more generally, is his legacy relevant to you today, or not? (IF RELEVANT) Is that very relevant or somewhat relevant?

           --------- Relevant -----------
           NET   Very   Somewhat  No opin  Not relevant   No opinion
8/7/11     69     38       31        *          26             5          
  Blacks   89     75       14        0           8             6
  Whites   62     30       32        *          31             3  

3. Who do you think is the most important black leader in America?

8/7/11  Summary table
 
                          All   Blacks   Whites
Barack Obama              47      66       43 
Al Sharpton                1       *        1
Colin Powell               3       0        4 
Condoleezza Rice           1       0        1 
Jesse Jackson              1       2        1
Michelle Obama             *       1        *
Oprah Winfrey              2       0        2
Alan West                  1       0        1
Martin Luther King, Jr.    7       7        6 
Herman Cain                2       0        2
Thomas Sowell              *       0        * 
Other                      7       8        7
No opinion                30      16       33

Compare to: 9/23/87

                          All   Blacks   Whites
Jesse Jackson             58      74       55
Harold Washington          2       *        2
Martin Luther King, Jr.    1       1        1
Bill Cosby                 1       *        1
Tom Bradley                1       1        1
Andrew Young               1       1        1
Barbara Jordan             1       *        1
Benjamin Hooks             *       1        *
Thurgood Marshall          *       1        *
Other                      5       5        5
No opinion                30      16       33

Compare to: 10/15/83

                                Blacks   
Jesse Jackson                     51     
Andrew Young                       8     
Martin Luther King, Jr.            4     
Benjamin Hooks                     2     
Harold Washington                  1     
Julian Bond                        1     
Coretta Scott King                 1     
Coleman Young                      1     
Other                              4     
No opinion                        27     

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* See the results of this poll graphically

* The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: Photos, videos, events, news and full coverage

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