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82% Hold Favorable View of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most Americans continue to hold civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in high regard while holding mixed views about the state of race relations in this country.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 82% of Adults have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of King, including 51% with a Very Favorable view. Just 13% hold an unfavorable view of King who was assassinated in 1968. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

These findings have changed little since January 2007 when Rasmussen Reports first began asking the question in conjunction with the federal holiday set aside to honor King’s birthday.

Similarly unchanged are the 22% who regard the King holiday as one of the nation’s most important. Twenty-four percent (24%) say it is one of the least important holidays, and 52% rate it as somewhere in between.

Despite the election in 2008 of the nation’s first African-American president, just 33% of Adults rate race relations in America today as good or excellent, and only 38% think race relations are getting better.  A plurality (43%) doesn't believe that celebrating King’s birthday as a national holiday helps improve racial tolerance in this country.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.  

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on January 12-13, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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