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Obama presidency fails to unite whites and blacks: Poll

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Washington: Barack Obama’s presidency has not united whites and blacks in America, a new poll suggests, noting that Americans’ negative views on the state of race relations in the country persist.

Just 15 per cent of Americans think Obama’s presidency has brought whites and blacks closer together, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll released on Thursday.

Instead, 47 per cent think his presidency has made no difference, while 34 per cent think his presidency has pushed blacks and whites further apart.

Blacks (30 per cent) are more likely than whites (11 per cent) to think the Obama presidency has brought blacks and whites closer together, though about half of both groups think his presidency hasn’t made much difference.

Americans give a mixed review to Obama for his handling of race relations in the US, and white and black Americans assess his presidency differently on this measure, according to the poll.

Overall, 46 per cent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling race relations, while 44 per cent disapprove.

Among whites, more disapprove (50 per cent) than approve (40 per cent), while blacks overwhelmingly approve (72 per cent).

More specifically, although 62 per cent of white Americans think the Obama administration’s policies treat both blacks and whites equally, more than a quarter of whites (27 per cent) think his policies favor blacks over whites, up from just 12 per cent in 2010.

This rises to 49 per cent among whites who disapprove of the president’s handling of race relations.

In contrast, 85 per cent of blacks think the policies of the Obama administration favor both blacks and whites equally.

Still, 45 per cent of Americans think Obama has been judged more harshly because he is black; blacks (80 per cent) are far more likely to think so than whites (37 per cent).

And while many Americans remain critical of Obama’s handling of race relations, more Americans think the Democratic Party (44 per cent) is more likely to improve race relations than the Republican Party (23 per cent).

Positive opinions of race relations rose above 50 per cent in the 2000s, and reached a high of 66 per cent in April 2009, shortly after Barack Obama took office, CBS said.

But those positive assessments have not lasted: in mid-2014, after the conflicts between blacks and the police in Ferguson, Missouri, the percentage that said race relations are good dropped, it noted.

(IANS)

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