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GOOD QUESTION!: Has Obama Hurt Race Relations? GOOD QUESTION!: Has Obama Hurt Race Relations?

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The Daily Fray

GOOD QUESTION!: Has Obama Hurt Race Relations?

January 19, 2011
Americans are less convinced that our first black president has helped race relations than they were at his inauguration, a Washington Post/ABC News poll reports. The percentage of people who say President Obama would make race relations better has declined every year since he was inaugurated.

Two years ago, 58 percent of Americans said President Obama would make race relations better; just 7 percent said he'd make them worse. A year ago, 41 percent said Obama had made it better and 12 percent said he'd made it worse. This year, the percentage of people who think the president has helped race relations has dropped to 35 percent, with 14 percent saying he'd hurt them. Now, almost half--49 percent--say he hasn't made much difference.

Slate's Dave Weigel notes that when the numbers are broken down between blacks and whites, you get interesting results. Among both whites and blacks, the percentage who say Obama has made things better has drooped by 24 points, Weigel notes--though for blacks, it's dropped from 75 percent, but from whites, it's dropped from 55 percent. "Here's a chaser that I'm not sure how to interpret," he adds: "since Obama was sworn in, the percentage of Americans saying blacks have achieved equality has risen from 35 to 42 percent. It has remained static among blacks, and spiked nine points among whites." The percentage of blacks who think they'll never achieve full equality, or won't achieve it in their life time, is 45 percent. That number hasn't changed much since September 2008.
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