Poll: Race Relations Between Whites and Blacks Worst Since 1990s

A new CBS News/New York Times poll conducted between April 30-May 3 shows 61 percent of Americans now believe that relations between the races are bad, the first time a majority of Americans have felt that way since 1997. That is the highest percentage since 1992, when riots across the nation followed Los Angeles police being acquitted after the beating of Rodney King, and a 23-p0int leap from earlier this year. The shift was huge among whites; 67 percent say relations are bad, as opposed to 35 percent in February.

Only 15 percent of blacks and 16 percent of whites think race relations are improving. A whopping 46 percent of whites and 41 percent of blacks see the issue getting worse.

Sixty-one percent of Americans think the riots after Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore were unjustified. Sixty-four percent of whites, and 57 percent of blacks, agreed the riots were wrong.

Perspectives on relations with police differ: 79 percent of blacks feel that police will more likely use deadly force against them than whites, while 53 percent of whites believe race is not a factor. A majority of whites, 64 percent, feel the investigation into Gray’s death will be fair, with 46 percent of blacks agreeing, although the 46 percent of blacks is higher than the 35 percent who felt the Michael Brown investigation in Ferguson, Missouri would be fair.

A huge disparity emerged when respondents were asked whether their police made them feel safe. Eighty-one percent of whites thought they did, but only 51 percent of blacks agreed. Forty-two of blacks said police triggered anxiety among them.

Virtual unanimity existed when asked whether the police should wear video cameras: 93 percent of both blacks and whites agreed they should.

In June-July 2013, Gallup asked whether Americans found race relations between whites and blacks were good or somewhat good — 70 percent of respondents thought that they were, with 72 percent of whites believing they were and 66 percent of blacks agreed.


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