Fewer think Obama advanced race relations

Jan. 18, 2010 at 10:49 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Fewer Americans now say they think President Obama has advanced race relations than a year ago, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday indicates.

In poll, about four in 10 people said they thought Obama, as the first black president, advanced race relations, compared to last year's poll in which nearly six in 10 people said they thought Obama would improve racial ties.

The falloff was notable among African Americans, pollsters said. In January 2009, about 75 percent of blacks said they expected Obama's presidency to help race relations. In the latest poll, 51 percent of African Americans say he has helped.

Three in 10 African Americans said Obama's election didn't represent broader change, the Post said. About two-thirds of respondents said they Obama's election was indicative of progress for all blacks in the United States, unchanged from last year, the Post said. About half say his time in office hadn't made much difference in race relations, while one in eight respondents said it hurt.

The latest poll also indicated about seven in 10 say blacks already have or soon will reach racial equality, about the same results in January 2009 and during the 2008 presidential campaign.

About two in 10 respondents said equality won't be achieved during their lifetimes, and one in 10 participants said they didn't believe racial equality would ever happen.

The nationwide poll of 1,083 adults was conducted Tuesday through Thursday. The total margin of error of 3 percentage points. For the 153 African Americans polled, the margin of error is 8 percentage points.

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