Americans' perceptions of race relations falls to 19-year low

Gallup survey asked 1,226 Americans between 8 June to 14 July their thoughts on US race relations, as Black Lives Matter protests took place in every state

James Crump
Thursday 03 September 2020 21:51
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Black Lives Matter protester pulled into unmarked van by New York police
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US citizen’s perceptions of relations between white and black Americans has fallen to a 19-year low, amid three months of protests for racial equality.

A new poll by data analytics firm Gallup, that was released on Thursday, showed that 55 per cent of Americans think relations between white and black US citizens are bad, while only 45 per cent think they are good.

Of the 55 per cent who think relations are bad, 24 per cent said that they are very bad, while 31 per cent said that they are only somewhat bad.

Seven per cent of those who told Gallup that they think relations are good, told the analytics firm that they believe they are very good and 37 per cent said that they think relations are only somewhat good.

The survey asked 1,226 Americans across the US between 8 June to 14 July their thoughts on US race relations, as Black Lives Matter protests took place in every state of the US.

Gallup’s poll included an oversample of black Americans that was weighted to their correct population in the country, according to the Daily Mail.

Black Lives Matter protests have been taking place across the US for more than 100 days, following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Mr Floyd’s death sparked protests in every state in the US in opposition to police brutality against African Americans, and demonstrations were recently reignited after black man Jacob Blake was paralysed, when he was shot four times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The poll was taken before Mr Blake was shot in late August, and prior to the Trump administration deploying federal agents to Portland, Oregon, after the federal courthouse had become a target of nightly violence.

The analytics firm started measuring the topic of relations between white and black Americans in 2001, with their first poll finding 63 per cent of US citizens answering that they thought relations were good or somewhat good.

That figure rose to a high of 72 per cent in 2004, but has steadily decreased in the years since and fell from 70 per cent in 2013 to 47 per cent in 2015, following a number of high-profile deaths of black Americans by white police officers.

They included the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on 9 August 2014, and which sparked weeks of protests and helped form the Black Lives Matter movement.

The results showed that a majority of Americans thought relations were good in the following year, but after the ratings reached 54 per cent in 2019 it fell back down to 46 per cent following the unrest that has taken place after Mr Floyd’s death.

Since the firm started the survey, Gallup has collated the results to the question from black adults, which in 2001 showed that 70 per cent thought relations were good or somewhat good, compared to 62 per cent of non-Hispanic white Americans who thought the same.

By 2015, only 46 per cent of black adults thought relations between white and black Americans were good or somewhat good, while the figure had dropped to 51 per cent for non-Hispanic white US citizens.

For the survey, that was recorded between June and July this year, 46 per cent of non-Hispanic white Americans said they think relations are good or somewhat good, while the figure for black adults dropped to 36 per cent.

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