CBS New York, May 4, 2015
A new poll released Monday indicated that Americans believe race relations are at their worst in more than two decades.
The CBS News/New York Times poll said 61 percent of Americans characterize race relations in the U.S. as “bad,” including a majority of white and black respondents. The figure is the highest since 1992.
A total of 79 percent of African-Americans believe police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than against a white person, while 53 percent of whites believe race does not play a role, the survey said.
This was also the first time since 1997 that majorities of both white and black Americans believe race relations in the U.S. are poor, the poll said. Opinions among white Americans have grown sharply more negative in the poll even compared with earlier this year–with 62 percent of whites saying race relations are bad compared with just 35 percent in February.
Black respondents have historically had a more negative view than white respondents about race relations, but the level of pessimism is now similar, according to the poll.
Also, fewer than one in five white Americans think race relations are getting better–with 44 percent responding that relations are getting worse and 37 percent saying they’re staying about the same.
Most respondents–64 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks–thought the unrest in Baltimore following Gray’s death was not justified, the poll said.
Six in 10 respondents had a lot or some confidence that the investigation into Gray’s death would be conducted fairly, but the figure was split along racial lines, the poll said. A total of 64 percent of whites say they have at least some confidence in a fair investigation, but 52 percent of blacks have little or no such confidence, the poll said.