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Race relations have not improved under Obama, say majority of Americans

New Al Jazeera poll finds just 15 percent of respondents say there has been improvement in race relations in America

Nearly half of all Americans say they believe that race relations in the United States have gotten worse since Barack Obama was elected president, according to a new Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll. Just 15 percent of Americans say that race relations have improved under America’s first black president.

Forty percent of respondents said there had been no change in the status of race relations, whereas 43 percent said things had gotten worse. White respondents were most likely to say things had gotten worse, whereas African-Americans were nearly evenly split on the question. Both African-Americans and Latinos were more likely than whites to say things had not changed since Obama was elected president, though Latinos were more likely than African-Americans to say that things had gotten worse.

White respondents were also the only group in which slightly fewer than half described racial and ethnic discrimination as “a big problem,” although an additional 21 percent described it as a small problem. Nearly 70 percent of both black and Latino respondents described it as a big problem. When broken down by age, people aged 18-34 were most likely to consider it a big problem, followed by people aged 35-54 and people 55 or older.

Race and racism have dominated American politics and news headlines for much of Obama’s tenure in office.

Even immediately before he assumed the presidency, the 2008 housing market collapse wiped out about half the wealth of African-American households. Additionally, over the past year, U.S. cities have been hit with waves of protests in response to several recent killings of unarmed black men by white police officers.

President Obama has also struggled at length to push comprehensive immigration reform through Congress, even as his administration has set a new record for the number of deportations conducted on his watch.

The Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from Jan. 13 to 15, 2015 with 1,003 adults in the United States. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.1 percent.

Race relations

Have race relations in the United States become better or worse since Barack Obama became president, or has there been no change?

Source: Survey conducted Jan. 13-15, 2015, by Al Jazeera and Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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