Tags: Polls | race relations | pew research center | racism | americans

Pew Study: Notions of Race as 'Big Problem' Grow in US

Pew Study: Notions of Race as 'Big Problem' Grow in US
Protests and counter-protests erupted over race relations in Charlottesville earlier this month. (AP Photo/Ryan M. Kelly)

By    |   Tuesday, 29 August 2017 05:10 PM

More Americans think race is a "big problem" in society — roughly doubling since 2011, a Pew Research Center study showed Tuesday.

According to the survey, the share of those who see racism as a major problem has gone up 8 percentage points since 2015 — almost entirely among Democrats, "making an already wide partisan gap in these attitudes even larger," the Center's Samantha Neal wrote.

Overall, 58 percent of Americans say racism is a "big problem in our society," while 29 percent said it is "somewhat of a problem." Just 12 percent think racism is a small problem — or not a problem.

Two years ago, 50 percent thought of racism as a major problem; in 2011 just 28 percent saw it that way.

The entire survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Since 2009, the first year of Barack Obama's presidency, growing numbers of both Democrats and Republicans have seen racism as a major problem, the Center noted.

In 2015, 58 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 40 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners said racism was a major problem, up from 32 percent and 18 percent, respectively, in 2009.

Since then, however, the share of Democrats expressing this view has climbed 18 percentage points – to 76 percent; today, 37 percent of Republicans view racism as a big problem compared with 40 percent in 2015.

The Washington Post noted the grim numbers have not been so high since at least 1995. The previous high was in June 1996, when 54 percent said racism was a major problem — after months of arsons at predominantly black churches in the South, the Post reported.

Though the number sank during the first years after Obama became president, it began to climb after the police-involved shootings of unarmed black men in the summer of 2015, the Post reported.

According to the Post, part of the current increase also likely reflects the violence in Charlottesville and the 2016 presidential campaign, in which Democrats accused President Donald Trump and his supporters of being racists or fomenting racism.

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More Americans think is a "big problem" in society, roughly doubling since 2011, a Pew Research Center study showed Tuesday.
race relations, pew research center, racism, americans
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 05:10 PM
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