Americans’ Perceptions Of White-black Relations Falls To A 19-year Low With 55% Bad Ratings

Perceptions Of White-black Relations Falls

Americans’ perceptions of white-black relations have fallen to a 19-year low amid one of the largest civil rights movements in history. 

The majority of US adults say relations between white and black Americans are very (24 percent) or somewhat bad (31 percent), while less than half call them very (seven percent) or somewhat (37 percent) good, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday. 

The poll was conducted over a 46-day period from June to July, after the May 25 death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and intensified a national conversation about racial injustice. 

Gallup data shows that Americans’ views of race relations have soured since 2018 and have now hit their lowest point since the analytics firm began measuring the topic in 2001 – with 55 percent of people rating them as bad to any degree. 

Americans’ perceptions of white-black relations have fallen to a 19-year low during a summer of nationwide demonstrations against racism, a new Gallup poll shows. Pictured: Anti-racism protesters face off with counter-protesters in Portland on August 17

The Gallup poll found that the majority of US adults say relations between white and black Americans are very (24 percent) or somewhat bad (31 percent), while less than half call them very (seven percent) or somewhat (37 percent) good

Across Gallup’s 19 years of data collection on race relations, white Americans have been consistently more likely to express positive views than black Americans. However, over the last 18 months the divide between the groups has narrowed, as positive ratings among white Americans dropped eight points to 46 percent, compared with a four percent drop to 36 percent among black Americans

From 2001 through 2013, most Americans held a positive view of white-black relations, with between 63 and 72 percent of people calling them good or somewhat good each year. 

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Positive perceptions declined took a nosedive to 47 percent in 2015 after several high-profile killings of black citizens by white police officers, including Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland – as well as Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald and Eric Garner in 2014.  

‘Good’ ratings rebounded slightly between 2016 and 2018, reaching 53 percent before dropping to 44 percent in 2020.  

Gallup surveyed 1,226 US adults over the phone between June 8 and July 24. The report notes that it included an oversample of black Americans that was weighted to their correct proportion of the population. 

It also acknowledged that the survey was taken prior to the conflicts in Portland, Oregon, that led to deaths of both protesters and counterprotesters, and before the police shooting of Jacob Black in Kenosha, Wisconsin – suggesting that ratings may have fallen even lower over the past month.  

The Gallup poll was conducted over a 46-day period from June to July, after the May 25 death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and intensified a national conversation about racial injustice. Pictured: Protesters face off with police in Portland

Gallup acknowledged that the survey was taken prior to the police shooting of Jacob Black in Kenosha, Wisconsin – suggesting that ratings may have fallen even lower over the past month. Pictured: A protester holds a #JusticeFormarch near Minneapolis on August 24

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Across Gallup’s 19 years of data collection on race relations, white Americans have been consistently more likely to express positive views than black Americans. 

However, over the last 18 months the divide between the groups has narrowed, as positive ratings among white Americans dropped eight points to 46 percent, compared with a four percent drop to 36 percent among black Americans.  

Though positive perceptions are at an all time low, Americans’ optimism about the future of white-black relations is showing small signs of improvement. 

The latest poll asked respondents: ‘Do you think that relations between blacks and whites will always be a problem for the United States, or that a solution will eventually be worked out?’ 

Fifty-nine percent of people expressed optimism about a solution, compared with 57 percent who said the same in 2018. 

The public’s outlook on the future of race relations has been steadily improving since the 1990s, when the US was rocked by the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles and the OJ Simpson trial. 

Optimism peaked at 67 percent in November 2008 with the election of President Barack Obama, before declining to 52 percent in 2012.   

The graph above shows Americans’ optimism about the future of white-black relations. Fifty-nine percent of people surveyed in the latest poll expressed optimism about a solution, compared with 57 percent who said the same in 2018

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White Americans have consistently been more optimistic about the future of race relations than black Americans in the last two decades. In the latest poll, 60 percent of white Americans shared optimism about a solution, compared with 54 percent of black Americans

White Americans have consistently been more optimistic about the future of race relations than black Americans in the last two decades. 

In the latest poll, 60 percent of white respondents said a solution would be worked out, compared with 59 percent who said that in 2018. 

Fifty-four percent of black Americans were optimistic about a solution- a 10 percent jump from 44 percent in 2018. 

That percentage surpassed the 50 percent of people who shared a positive outlook in 2008 – marking the highest optimism rating since 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.  

The Gallup survey also looked at perceived relations between white Americans and other minority groups, which were less polarized than white-black relations.   

Seventy-eight percent of respondents considered white-Asian relations to be good or somewhat good, compared with 62 percent positivity for white-Hispanic relations.  

However, positivity in both those categories declined in 2020 compared with the average from 2015 to 2018 – with a seven point drop for white-Asian relations and four point drop for white-Hispanic relations.   

The Gallup survey also looked at perceived relations between white Americans and other minority groups, which were less polarized than white-black relations.

Americans’ Perceptions Of White-black Relations Falls To A 19-year Low With 55%

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