Nums: A historical perspective on race relations in the U.S….

Controversial topic, so we’ll stick to the numbers…

Everybody knows that Obama’s words eased the racial divide … and that Trump’s words are blowing the gap wide open

Right?

image

Well, according to Gallup, that’s only partially right…

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The numbers

Annually, Gallup surveys on the question:

“Would you say that race relations between whites and blacks are very good, somewhat good, somewhat bas or very bad?”

Annual results are displayed on the above chart.

I’ve added the demarcation lines indicating presidential terms.

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From the beginning to now

Note on the chart above that in 2001, 68% of whites and 70% of blacks rated race relations as very or somewhat good.

Call that a tie.

But most recently, only 54% of whites give a favorable rating (a drop of 8 percentage points over the 5 presidential terms — almost 20 years) … and, only 40% of blacks give a favorable rating (a drop of 30 percentage points.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

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Broad strokes

Note  that during Bush 43’s terms and Obama’s first term — the trend lines are relatively flat for both whites (averaging about 70% favorable) and blacks (averaging about 60% favorable).

The black-white ratings gap widened a bit during Bush’s terms (from even to a 9 point spread) … and narrowed a bit during Obama’s first term (from a 9 point spread to 6 points).

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Digging deeper

During the Bush presidency, black’s favorable rating of racial relationships dropped from 70% in 2001 to 62% in 2008 (a drop of 8 percentage points).

During Obama’s presidency, black’s favorable rating of racial relationships dropped from 62% in 2009 to 48% in 2016 (a drop of 14 percentage points).

So far, during Trump’s presidency, black’s favorable rating of racial relationships dropped from 48% in 2009 to 40% recently (a drop of 8 percentage points).

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Most recently

In Obama’s 2nd term, the Gallup numbers  indicate a sharp, steady decline in black’s rating of racial relations — from 66% favorable to 48% favorable (a drop of 16 percentage points).

The decline has continued during Trump’s presidency … going from 48% favorable among blacks to  only 40% most recently (a drop of 8 percentage points).

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Pulling it all together

According to Gallup, black’s favorable rating of racial relationships has dropped 30 points since 2001.

Roughly 1/4th of that decline occurred during Bush’s presidency … 1/4th during Trump’s … and almost half during Obama’s presidency — all in his 2nd term.

image

Those are the numbers as reported by Gallup …  you can draw your own conclusions regarding the specific causes and influences.

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For comparability

Here is a recap of Gallup’s numbers for white’s favorable rating of racial relationships

image

The takeaways: an 8 point decline since 2001 … driven by an 8 point increase during the Bush presidency … and a 15 point decline during Obama’s … with little change during Trump’s presidency.

Again, draw your own conclusions …

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