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Startling Findings About Race Relations: Then and Now

Five things you may not know that people are thinking about race relations 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech...

  • Nearly 2/3 of all voters say that race relations have improved over the last 50 years.
  • But just one-in-10 say that race relations have improved since President Obama took office in 2008. Blacks are even less convinced than whites and other minority voters that things have gotten better.
  • In January 2009, just before Obama’s first inauguration, almost half of Americans said his election signaled the start of a new era in race relations. Three-quarters of blacks felt that way.
  • Those who were in their mid-teens or older at the time of  King's speech are less likely to say that relations have improved over the last 50 years.
  • Women believe more strongly than men that race relations have improved over the last 50 years and since Obama was elected president.


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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 27-28, 2013 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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