Voters Hopeful About Black-White Relations, Less So About Hispanics

Rasmussen Reports, December 21, 2009

Voters strongly believe that black-white relations are better today–and improving–but are much less confident about the social situation with Hispanics.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 80% of voters think relations between white Americans and black Americans are better today than they were in the 1960s. Just 11% say that isn’t so.

Sixty-two percent (62%) also feel that relations between black and white Americans are getting better. Twenty percent (20%) say that relationship is getting worse, and 11% see it as about the same as it always has been.

However, just 40% of voters nationwide say relations between white Americans and Hispanics are getting better. Nearly as many (34%) say they are getting worse. Fifteen percent (15%) see no change.

Voters are even more pessimistic about the relationship between African-Americans and Hispanics.

Eighteen percent (18%) say it’s getting better, but twice as many (36%) say relations between the two are getting worse. Twenty percent (20%) say neither is the case, while another 26% are not sure.

The numbers on white-black relations are virtually unchanged from late July at the height of the national debate over the arrest of a black Harvard professor by a white Cambridge, Massachusetts policeman.

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Twenty-one percent (21%) of voters believe there is more discrimination these days against Hispanics than against blacks or women. Just 11% feel that blacks are more discriminated against. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say women are the more discriminated against of the three groups. Forty-one percent (41%) are not sure.

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A sore point for many Hispanics is the national debate over illegal immigration. By a 70% to 22% margin, voters say that gaining control of the borders is more important than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already in the country.

What is often lost in the debate over immigration reform, however, is that once the borders are controlled, most Americans favor a welcoming immigration policy provided it is done within the law. By a 55% to 27% margin, Americans favor a policy goal that would welcome everyone except criminals, national security threats and welfare dependants.

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