26% Say Obama Response Good or Excellent on Cambridge Cop Question

Rasmussen Reports, July 26, 2009

Twenty-six percent (26%) of voters nationwide say President Obama did a good or excellent job answering a press conference question about an incident involving a white Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman and a black Harvard professor. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% rate the president’s response as poor.

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The president was asked about the arrest of a prominent African-America professor at Harvard and the professor’s subsequent complaint of racial profiling. While admitting he did not know all the details and acknowledging that the professor was a personal friend, the president said the police acted “stupidly” when they arrested Henry Louis Gates.

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Seventy-one percent (71%) of African-Americans say the president’s response was good or excellent, a view shared by just 22% of white Americans.

At the other extreme, 53% of white voters gave the president’s response a poor grade. Only five percent (5%) of black Americans offered such a negative response.

African-Americans, by a two-to-one margin, say the question was inappropriate. Whites are fairly evenly divided on the appropriateness of the question.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of African-American voters believe that most blacks receive unfair treatment from the police. Just 21% of white voters share that view.

Thirty-two percent (32%) of black voters say that most policemen are racist, but 52% disagree.

Among white voters, just seven percent (7%) believe that most policemen are racist and 71% say they are not.

On a partisan basis, 50% of Democrats say the president’s response was good or excellent. White Democrats are less supportive than black Democrats. The president’s response earned a poor rating from 77% of Republicans and 52% of those not affiliated with either major party.

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The survey was conducted on Friday and Saturday, following significant efforts by the White House to move beyond this issue. The president called both the police officer and the professor with the suggestion that the three of them share a beer at the White House.

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Following the press conference, the president’s job approval ratings fell to new lows. {snip}

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