CNN Poll: Americans split on MLK vision
January 17th, 2011
10:32 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on MLK vision

Washington (CNN) - Americans are divided over whether the vision Martin Luther King outlined in his "I Have a Dream" speech has been fulfilled, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday on the Martin Luther King federal holiday also indicates that most people are optimistic that King's vision will eventually become reality.

Forty-eight percent of people questioned say that King's dream has been fulfilled, with 49 percent saying it has not become reality. Breaking it down further, of the 49 percent who say the dream has not be fulfilled, the poll indicates that 26 percent say King's vision will eventually occur, with 23 percent saying that King's goal will never be accomplished.

"In 2008, before Barack Obama was elected president, only a third of the country felt that the goals in the "I Have a Dream Speech" had been achieved. After Obama was elected that shot up to 49 percent and has remained at that level ever since," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Jan. 14-16, with 510 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

Filed under: Polls • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    The problem I see, is that while people have become more accepting of the message, those of us who lived through the extensive violence of that period, do not see the message the same way.

    While we here in the legacy about his "non-violent" teachings, in truth, their was a great deal of violence, that was associated with his "movement". I suspect that history will white-wash that aspect, of his movement, and it will be lost with the passing of those who saw it.

    January 17, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Marcus

    There's still a lot to do.
    True, we will never be able to see the of stuff like Nazism, KKK, White/Black/Pink with blue dots Supremacy. There will always be among any ethnic/religious/political group some guys and gals that will think:'He/She/They is/are not like me, therefore I must be superior to he/she/them cause I sure am not inferior!'
    Idiots (and I am being gentle hre) like that will always exist.
    But to be able to claim that Mr. King's 'Dream' was fulfilled we'll be able to say that all sorts of discrimination and bias and prejudices were (if not terminated, which is unlikely to happen) reduced significantly in their importance and weight in the taking of any kind of decision in a daily basis.
    Wether we're talking about 12 jurors giving a sentence to somebody who 'is not like them' or a guy/gal turning down a good business/job proposition (for both parts) because he/she feels superior to the other part of the deal.
    That did not happened, significantly, yet.

    January 17, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. Rsprings

    Anyone who thinks the dream has not been fulfilled hasn't been paying attention.

    January 17, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Annie, Atlanta

    Until we're all equal, the dream is just that – a dream. With the election of our first African American President I haven't seen this type of racism for decades. It's stunning. I was thinking we were better than this. Silly me.

    January 17, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Indie Woman in Denver

    I'd like to see the racial breakdown of respondents in this survey. I'd bet more African-Americans say it's not yet been fully achieved. Even with the first African-American prez, there's a lot of rheteric that indicates prejudice based on race. Have we, as a nation, made progress? Yes, but there's still a long way to go to reach that post-racial status.

    January 17, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. C. Gail

    I was watching CNN this morning and it talked about schools being open on MLK day and that it was offensive. Why don't we back up to Veterans day. Schools were open all over America. Not once did I hear from CNN about how offensive that is. These men and women for many years in the past, today and in our furture keeps us safe and fights for our freedom. Shame on you CNN.

    January 17, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. American

    God bless MLK's Dream for our country and all Americans.

    January 17, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. gt

    untill the cycle of poverty , one parent home run by women, no male figure, drugs,prison over population .. no his dream will not be fullfilled..

    January 17, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. GuyinVA

    The world is populated by human beings. Therefore, racism – and every other "ism" – will always exist. If the elimination of prejudice is the definition of Dr. King's dream being realized, then no. However, great progress has been made. I like to remember the 2008 presidential campaign when then-Senator Obama said, "Only in America, is my story possible." The best and most accurate line of the campaign. Second best: Obama appointing Mitt Romney Secretary of Lookin' Good.

    January 17, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Kenneth

    Has the dream been fulfilled? Of course not and anyone who believes otherwise are either delusional or have not experienced inequality. One need only look at the mood of the country and the escalated hatred that arose once President Obama was elected to office. There has been, or "appears" to be, more blatant racial hatred displayed in the past two years than in years prior. MLK's dream will NEVER be fulfilled because those who stand against equality become silent until they perceive a time to act. Was the election of Michael Steele to the head of the RNC a proposed fulfillment of the dream? Or was he simply a pawn to give the "appearance" of acceptance? Do the faces of our "elected" officials reflect those of our society? The Dream remains a dream ...

    January 17, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    As long as people can't honestly debate President Obama's policies without resorting to calling him Hitler or making posters of him as a witch doctor, then Dr. King's dream has not yet been fulfilled.

    Speaking of judging people based on the content of their character, the Republicans apparently don't have any; all they've got is a lot of hateful, divisive noise. Guess that's all you can offer when your policies are proven failures ...

    January 17, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Bob in PA

    Until all people of any Race own up and take responsibility for their own lives and their own actions we will always be miles from that dream. Higher edjucation continually gets priced out of the reach of many, while good paying Jobs get chased away by Government regulations and Unions. Progressive liberals have created this mess that we wallow in today.

    January 17, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Claudia in Houston

    The dream is within all of us which requires unity, acceptance and love of one another. MLK's dream is God's teaching, he got it right, while there are those of us who haven't figured that out.

    January 17, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Dennis

    It's getting there. A LOT has been done. There are some that still want to hold to the past, but they are thankfully a dyin' breed.

    January 17, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |