December 29th, 2009
12:00 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama brings new era of race relations?


African-Americans remain supportive of President Obama, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey.  (Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - African-Americans are incredibly supportive of President Barack Obama, but their enthusiasm appears to have dramatically dropped from earlier this year, according to a new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Tuesday, also indicates that Obama's presidency appears to have made blacks more optimistic about race relations, but less than one in five believe the new president has ushered in a new era of race relations in the country.

Full results (PDF)

More than nine in 10 blacks questioned in the poll approve of the job Obama's doing in the White House, far higher than 42 percent of whites who approve of his performance as president. But when asked how they personally feel about Obama's presidency, only 42 percent of black respondents say they're thrilled, with nearly half of those questioned saying they are happy but not thrilled. The 42 percent who are thrilled is down from 61 percent in January, when Obama was inaugurated.

"African-Americans are still big fans of the first black president in U.S. history, but the thrill is gone," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the poll, 51 percent of African-Americans say Obama's presidency has brought some improvement in race relations in the U.S., but only 18 percent feel it's the start of a new era. Another 23 percent say they've seen a real change in race relations over the past 11 months and 7 percent say things have gotten worse.

The survey indicates that three-quarters of blacks think that race relations will eventually improve, which is up from 49 percent of blacks who felt that way a year before Obama was elected.

"Whites take a dimmer view of Obama's effect on race relations, with a third believing that the new presidency has not changed race relations in the country and 15 percent of whites saying that Obama has made race relations worse," adds Holland. "Not surprisingly, whites are less supportive of Obama, although for a notable number of whites, their negative view of the president is due to the perception that he's not been liberal enough."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 16-20, with 1,160 adult Americans, including 259 African-Americans and 786 whites, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points and plus or minus 6 percentage points for the African-Americans sample.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Democrats really don't care about you...

    Yes, it is hard to be excited by a president that cares more about a faulty ideology than he does about the good of his country.

    I'm surprised that even 42% think that he's doing a good job. His stimulus failed, he's stolen more freedoms than Bush's Patriot Act and is attempting a private sector takeover (banks, auto industry, private companies, and now healthcare...).

    Obama should resign and let someone with talent (besides speaking) and private industry experience take over. Hmmmm Mitt Romney?

    December 29, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. RJS3

    First, before anyone starts pointing fingers at me being a conservative and living in Texas, let me just say that things such as race relations should transcend politics. Politics, like philosophy and religion, is something no two people can completely agree on, and something that can always cause contention, even between best of friends.

    Has Obama brought about a new era of race relations? I don't think that Obama personally has, I think we as a society have. Without a shift in race relations in our society, even though it still has a long way to go, President Obama would not be where he is now. I certainly think that it is a step in the right direction, even if I do not fully agree with his policies. I think he does provide us with a good role model as a father and family man, and he is in a role that most of us would never want to hold.

    I think that we need to strive, as a society, to move beyond re-opening the scars of racial relations. We need to learn to respect each other as human beings.

    December 29, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Joe M

    He is a "ONE and DONE" president just like his mentor Jimmy Carter...End of story..

    December 29, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    African Americans as any other race, have a right to vote for anyone they chose as we did in past history when there was no African American to chose from, this is bogus reporting.

    December 29, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |

    So if 90% of blacks approve of him, vs. the average total of all Americans (of all races) giving him an approval of around 49%.... one can easily conclude a VERY large percentage of those blacks who approve of him ONLY approve because of his race. And the author is surprised we're not experiencing a "new era" of race relations? I wonder what happens when we remove the percentage of those who approve simply based on race from his approval ratings on the whole? My guess is he'd be somewhere SLIGHTLY better than Bush when he left office.

    December 29, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. russell

    So far he's done an exellent job , but when you have a group of white that aree trying to derail any and all efforts that this president is making , whatever he does you'll have a group that is complaining , so I think he's doing the best he can given the current political racist enviornment that 's out there , people have to remember that he's fighting against republicans and wall street , .......

    December 29, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    funny how the press always make it about race...

    this is not about black white or green...

    this is about a president that is not good at his job and has no idea what he is doing....

    he has been in office over a year and he has made everything worse.

    he is a socialist and he is single handedly ruining the usa and driving us into the ground...

    December 29, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    Most of those still believing in 0bama's promises are either benefitting from Big Government entitlements or living in a fantasy world that trying to get our enemies to hate us less is a nobel cause.

    Unfortunately, Obozo's leadership is rendering our Nation weaker and increasingly in debt. He will be a 1 termer and his legacy will be viewed as a BIG MISTAKE. Time will tell but his incompetence and socialistic ideology will supercede anything positive he may someday accomplish. So far he his personally responsible for much more harm than good and his misguided plans for the future will compromise tax-paying Americans even more!

    December 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. CNN in the censoring buisness..shameful! He LIVES so ALL man can know peace and love!

    It doesn't matter what the race 's the loyalty for American interest and protection that is at the forefront. When I say American interest I am speaking of looking out for the working citizen..not corporations that drain the resources of the citizen.

    He's only had his midterm grades....the nation is still watching and grading..and frankly race plays no part in that.

    December 29, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. kuriya

    CNN I think you are becoming tabloid news. What is this now poll on whatever Obama does? A president does not need to wrap his color around his job. It is not only black people that voted for him but white or people of all races. He will not be everything to everybody. We are disappointed because we had too much hope that he will president and he change every thing. This is politics we a democratic country not theocratic. What ever he does he has to go congress then to senate to pass a bill. People we know he is not perfect but he has done a lot. Where will the country be if he did not make hard choice about the economy? Let us pray and hope for the best. He cannot change country that was trying to go over the Cliff before he came to power. Let sit back and think what will have happened if will not have done the things he did. We forget so easily and quickly. It is not only American but the world will have being in more difficulty than we are now.

    December 29, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. sensi johnson

    My question is what does anyone expect from a president who has to deal with two (one real, one fake) wars, the world economy, global warming, joblessness, healthcare, partisan bickering, etc... I think we should all be very proud of the job this president has done so far. It is also important to note that this guy has been in office for less than a year and things are begining to point in the right direction. This poll in my mind is divisive and I stand corrected when I say that a similar poll of BLACK AND WHITE SUPPORT was never done under the last administration. I think at a time when all we are getting from washington is "yes and no" from democrats and republican, polls should be conducted on age and demographics rather than race.

    My 2 cents

    December 29, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. A Proud American

    President Obama is an inspiration to us all – of any race, religion, or sex. As an educated American, I understand that it takes more than one year to dig the country out of the undeniable mess that it was in. However, the President has a plan to rebuild this great country and I, for one, will support and pray for him and the United States of America.

    December 29, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. Gerry NH

    It doesn't matter what his race is he is just a horrible president.

    December 29, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. buckwheat

    I wonder if the next ten presidents are going to blame all their problems on Bush?The news media has failed to get the word out that Bush is no longer the president. As one president said "the buck stops here" as the world found out he did not hide behind politacally correct when he found out he had a weapon that would stop WW2. Another said walk softly but carry a big stick".This one says nothing nor is he willing to bring enough firepower to stop these radical religious nuts from owning the country even here in our own military bases.He has eliminated terrorist-they are now downgraded to pesky or unhappy ill willed or what ever other word you might use.

    December 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Padraig

    How can anyone state that he has brought us from financial disaster and on the road to economic recovery? Our nation is at 14 trillion dollars in debt not 2 trillion that Bush left us in. The president has not been in office for 12 months yet. He has borrowed heavily on the future and our children and their children ... will be paying off. His direction is taking us down a calmatious road. If anything he has taken us farther into the abyss.

    December 29, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Justen

    Race relations in America are now at a 30 year low, so, yeah, he did bring a change in race relations to America.

    December 29, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. A Long

    I think the President is doing a fantastic job. He works very hard for all people. He is not just a white or black president. He thinks very hard on what is best for all people. All you naysayers should really be happy that we have a decent respectable president that think about what he is going to do before just haphazardly doing it. I am very proud of President Obama. It doesn't matter what color he is. I am just proud to know that we have a President that is smart, intelligent, and know how to speak properly and know when not to speak. So to all the haters out here...he is the Commander in Chief for AMERICA!

    December 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. northwest

    Keating Holland just when we are moving in the right directions to improve our race relations its someone like you that starts seperating people Your polls cause the world more problems everyday to ruin what we have accomplished .
    I have never known one person that was polled you throw dice then turn them yourself after they fall just to start a negative story to stir and cause more trouble.
    Go find a different positive job

    December 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Waste of Time

    Race is only an issue when you get a useless poll like this.

    December 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
1 2