African-Americans are far more satisfied than whites with the current state of the country, according to a brand new Gallup poll.
The survey found that 49 percent of African-Americans and 47 percent of Hispanics are “satisfied with the way things are going in the United States,” compared with just 28 percent of whites.
These results may come as a shock to many Americans, especially in light of the mass demonstrations against racially-charged police brutality that have taken place over the last few weeks and months.
But first, a caveat. The new Gallup poll surveyed 3,270 adults across all 50 states between June 7 and July 1, before the deaths of Louisiana resident Alton Sterling and Minnesota resident Philando Castile at the hands of police, not to mention the shooting of police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas just days later.
Still, the Black Lives Matter movement — and the trends to which it’s responding — has been in place for several years. It would thus seem misguided to dismiss the new Gallup poll simply because it was conducted before this month’s tragic, highly-publicized events.
So, why might African-Americans be the racial group most satisfied with the current direction of the U.S.? Gallup’s historical data, for one, suggests that satisfaction may simply have to do with who’s sitting in the Oval Office.
Gallup data from throughout the Obama administration finds satisfaction levels among African-Americans at about where they are now. On the other hand, those levels were significantly lower (and lower than those of whites) during the Bush administration.
These findings dovetail with another very recent Gallup study that found that the majority of Americans (57 percent) across all races believe that the country’s racial issues will one day will be resolved, compared with 40 percent who say that race relations will “always be a problem.”
The historical data behind that study also suggests that it corresponds with who’s president: Indeed, American optimism about race relations peaked tremendously with the 2008 election of Barack Obama, then settled back down and has remained consistent — and consistently high, compared to the Bush and Clinton administrations — throughout Obama’s two terms.
Despite these optimistic numbers, an April Gallup poll found that the number of Americans who say they are “worried a great deal” about race relations has more than doubled — from 17 percent to 35 percent — since 2014.
How to reconcile that increase with the fact that optimism about an eventual solution for race relations has remained historically high in recent years (as found by the previous poll)?
Perhaps enough Americans still believe that a solution will one day come — but at the same time worry that in the short-term things are bad. Perhaps Americans believe that, after these recent wounds, a greater healing can begin.
Next, read the instructions from the Minnesota police officer who told people how to run over Black Lives Matter marchers and get away with it. Then, see which former Congressman threatened Obama after the Dallas shooting.