In 2008, the historic election of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American president, spawned a plethora of hopes and dreams in the hearts and minds of a great many. Among these ideals was the aspiration that the nation’s race relations would improve.
Now, two years and seven months after the president took office, polls indicate that the American people don’t see major advances in this arena.
A new poll taken by USA Today/Gallup and released on Wednesday found that 35 percent of the nation believes that race relations have improved since Obama took office. Certainly, some would see this as a major victory in the battle for better interracial relations, but this proportion is actually down from the 41 percent that was found back in October 2009 (just months after Obama became president).
This isn’t good news on the racial relations improvement front, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not as though people necessarily see racial tensions as devolving and intensifying. Politico has more:
The proportion of Americans who see race relations getting worse has essentially stayed the same, with 23 percent of those surveyed saying relations have gotten worse, compared with 22 percent who said the same two years ago.
While the situation certainly isn’t as bad as it could be, Americans had high hopes back in 2008.Gallup reports that one day after Obama secured the white house, 70 percent of Americans predicted that race relations would improve as a result of his presidency. Earlier that year, only 56 percent of Americans reported the same beliefs, thus there was substantial growth in this sentiment.