The percentage of Americans who say they worry about race relations has reached its highest level in 15 years, according to a Gallup survey released Monday.
The polling outfit reports that 35 percent of Americans worry “a great deal” about race relations in the U.S., rising seven points since last year, doubling since 2014, and hitting the highest percentage since Gallup began posing the question in 2001.
Democrats (37 percent), liberals (42 percent) and blacks (53 percent), according to the poll, were generally more likely than Republicans (26 percent,) conservatives (28 percent), and whites (27 percent) to say they worry “a great deal” about U.S. race relations. However, the percentage of race worriers has increased across all demographic categories in the past decade and a half.
“Prior to 2015, race relations was much less of a concern to Americans, relative to other national issues,” Gallup reports. “In almost every one of 13 polls from 2001 to 2014, Americans were significantly less likely to be worried about race relations than about any of the other dozen or so issues tested.”
While a greater percentage of Americans expressed “a great deal” of concern about race relations, the issue remains still less a concern than healthcare, the economy, crime, and terrorism.
As Gallup notes, the increased concern about race relations represents a step back from where the country perceived racial divisions following President Obama’s first election.
“The rising concern about race relations as the nation’s first black president completes his last year in office is a retreat from the optimism that swept the country in the immediate aftermath of President Barack Obama’s first election win in 2008. A Gallup poll one night after Obama won found that seven in 10 Americans believed race relations would improve because of his victory,” the poll analysis reads.