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. dennis

    just wait til he takes all there benifits away then we will see how they like him.

    December 29, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Tanksleyd

    A story that can be told no where else but the United States of America.

    December 29, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Mike1952

    Wingnuts' failure is becoming complete. If he is losing his black support, that's it. He's a weak leader and incompetent commander-in-chief. He spends money like there is no tomorrow. And he surrounds himself with seedy characters of socialist or communist ideology. How blind can people be. His betrayal of his centrist promises made in the campaign and his bald-faced lies are incredible and it's very hard to accept that the President of the U.S. is openly a liar and has no problem with it. At least get some factual information to rebut. He only deals in emotion. I had little hope for this presidency and I'll definitely not be surpised.

    December 29, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    I wonder if they polled all of the people being displaced from public housing in the name of redevelopment. They've gotta move somewhwere. I wonder where they wind up? Class warfare is alive and well. It's just that minorities are over-represented in the lower class. Have a nice day!

    December 29, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    no one asked me ? I think he is doing better than most presidents we have ever had . he has to finish what Cheney Bush started and reform our policies in the world . so he is doing a great job . I give him an A + and the administration that works for him ,also an A+ for Hillary Clinton. doing a wonderful job world wide 🙂 CHANGE IS HERE

    December 29, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    I was hopeful that upon Obama's election, we would finally get past this idiotic race "thing" (for lack of a better term) in this country. Much to my dismay, it just appears to have worsened. From BOTH sides. Truly saddening to think this would be the case 40+ years after Dr. King.

    December 29, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. DK

    Race relations cannot be legislated into existence. Why is there this underlying assumption that race relations will benefit only african americans? What about the millions of caucasians whose lives have been impoverished beyond by not interacting with their fellow citizens. As an African living in Texas, I am puzzled by this skewed understanding of race relations. If Miles Davis suffered as a result of poor relations, his music benefitted. If a certain Mr. Obama jr suffered, his beautiful life benefitted. If a young African American named after a german bishop suffered, his legacy has shown that suffering to have been worthwhile. If the great Mandela suffered.....
    Point is: what's been the benefit of racism to the lives of the likes of George Wallace, Rush Limbaugh, John Vorster, Hitler, Margaret Thatcher, and that BNC idiot Enoch Powell? Or even the guy who shot the guard at the jewish museum.
    If you sit there bitter and acting out an outmoded script, life has already passed you by....

    December 29, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Priscilla

    President Obama has a lot on his plate and he has since he took office. He has multi-tasked very well and continues to do so. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders and he is doing the very best job that he can, which I think is an excellent job. People!!! Give our great President a break! He is NOT God, just our President. President Obama has done more in practically one year for the American people than George Bush did in the 8 years he was in office. One thing that American people can bank on is this... President Obama is for the American people! So for all of you out there who can't stop criticizing him... GET A LIFE!!!

    December 29, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. seebofubar

    I think that it's unfortunate for the African American community that Obama was the first African American president. He is such a dismal failure that it may have an affect on the electability of the next African American Presidential candidate. I hope not, but I fear it may be so.

    December 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Fooled Again

    Stop looking at people by race. This is in itself racism. Plus, Obama is half white.

    December 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. FM

    The media has become a joke nowadays. Don't they have enough to do?? Why on earth take such a poll? Is it your aim to divide black and white or what??
    They did it before the election that the Pres. will be affected by the Bradly effect, and this proved not to be the case.
    Where on earth can we now get the real reporting which is beneficial to us????? Absurd!

    December 29, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Chris D.

    As a man of color, who does think post racial, I have to say.......hey Obama is half white as well.......To be honest, one of the many reasons i voted for him was his exposure to both races, in difering parts of America.......Hawaii, Kansas, and Chicago........

    December 29, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Padraig

    Bringing race back into the picture. Brilliant move by a group the wants to cover up a person is not performing effectively in his job.

    When the President was running for office we were told by one "celebrity actress" that if we did not vote for him we were racists. I have served in the military and the people around me knew we were of different color, origin, race and religion but we were united. One soldier looking out for another. Brothers and sisters together. Doing a poll like this is extremely counter productive and builds walls between groups. We are Americans and first should think and act like Americans. Liberty and justice for all.

    December 29, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    I think the President is doing a great job. He's a strong, intelligent, thoughtful leader, who took our country from the brink of financial collapse and has put us on the road to economic recovery.

    President Obama inherited a HUGE mess left by Bush & Company and their failed economic, military and social policies.

    All this poll only proves that African-Americans, like all Americans these days, can be impatient.

    Time will show, however, that President Obama will have been one of our greatest presidents.

    P.S. In answer to the question posed by the headline, I hope President Obama's tenure does bring about a new era in race relations.

    December 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Just Me

    Silly question to poll in the first place. Race is beyond one individual. Who makes up this stuff at CNN? Hey CNN, if you want someone to give you decent questions to poll and report on, give me a call. I can do with a few extra bucks in this economy.

    December 29, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. NOT politically affiliated and not about to change

    Good grief. Race relations in this country will never change until the hearts and minds of the people change. We need to realize that God made us all in every color and hue because the bouquet He sees is glorious. Jesus died to save us all, not just one group or another, but every single person, in every nation, of every color and creed. So when "We The People" can become united in mutual respect and consideration for each other regardless of complexion and when ALL of us no longer are asked for "race" on government and private applications and forms, maybe then we can end the 'race relations' conversation. Indeed, God will be most pleased when we get there.

    There is only one race. Human. All else is irrelevant.

    Happy New Year everyone, and Peace be with you all.

    December 29, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Tony T

    Forget the race issue, who cares. What they really need to do with all these polls, is ask 10 questions on what is going on in the country. If you don't get 7 out of the 10, you don't get an opinion. Its like polling me and asking me how the latest Kenny Rogers tour is. I have no clue so I would just say great!!! Uneducated, uninformed people of any color should not get a vote, so these polls mean nothing. Let it go.

    December 29, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Carol

    Poll/schmoll. Just how many people are they interviewing in these so called "Pollls" and where are they getting their "Poll" information from? Standing in a Shopping, Mall, Grocery Store, or by telephone. Most of the Media thrive on racial divisiveness including. CNN . They need to learn from MSNBC, Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow, they focus on facts and the truth, not trying to racially divide this country like the other networks out there.; too many of them give bogus information and personal opinions. Opinions are not facts!

    December 29, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Carnell From The Motor City!

    Hmm! ...To Say That This So-Called Poll Explains The New Era Of Race Relations, And Then Turns Around And Tries To Question African-Americans Enthusiasm And Support Of President Obama. It's Obvious Some People Are Of The Delusion That Because Mr. Barack H. Obama Being Elected President Was To Immediatly Bring In A Whole New Era Of Race Relations.

    December 29, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Gary in Indiana

    Hey have you all forgotten that President's Obama mother is a white woman who raised him until the day she died and her white parents/his grand parents raised him too? Why don't you ever talk abot that , is it because you don't want to and you really don't care about that side of him? This man is half black/half white that would be BI-RACIAL like many of you out there, but you are ashamed to admit it.

    BI-RACIAL is not only black & white, what about Jon and Kate, they're a BI-RACIAL couple, asain man and a white woman with 8 children. This nation is so color struck, that's why it's so divided. LIke they say "God don't like UGLY" that's why this Nation is suffering, it's under a Biblical CURSE and yes he will continue to Bless our President!

    December 29, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Jane/Seattle

    Wile I would love to be able to say that we selected the right person this time, I'd be lying! All I note here is the Bandwagon Politics, the Catchy Phrases, THE BETRAYAL in the selection of WALL STREETERS OVER Main Streeters! Waited to see who the Economic Advisors were going to be! That is enough to KNOW the entire STORY! I recently signed a petition from the Congressional Black Caucas asking for his support for black folks and other persons of color. Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich are 2 of those who will not be BOUGHT! Here is a very old, good book for interested folks to check out! Eric Hoffer's, "The True Believer". If you never read it, please do. Thanks for reading. Poet out!

    December 29, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Dan, TX

    Obama is extremely impressive. This is what a centrist looks like and it is wonderful to see.

    December 29, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Obama Mama

    Polls schmolls, don't believe the hype

    December 29, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Obama Mama

    Keep up the good work Mr. President.

    December 29, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Larry

    This country will be great again when we show the world we can get past race issues and judge people for who they are, not what color they are.

    December 29, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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