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67% Say Obama Opponents Not Driven by Racism, But Blacks, Whites Disagree

Voters overwhelmingly reject the idea that opponents of President Obama’s policies are motivated primarily by racism, but there’s a strong difference of opinion between blacks and whites.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters think those who oppose the president’s policies do so primarily because they believe the policies are bad. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 18% feel instead that the opponents are against the policies because they are racist. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But while 73% of white voters and 62% of those of other races think the opposition is because the policies are bad, just 26% of blacks agree. A plurality (43%) of black voters believes the opposition is driven by racism.

These findings are similar to those in September 2009 when some Democrats, including former President Jimmy Carter, said racism was a factor in opposition to the president’s national health care plan. Two-out-of-three voters (67%) disagreed with that charge, but blacks were more skeptical than whites and voters of other races.

Only 17% of all voters believe most Americans are racist. Sixty-five percent (65%) disagree and do not feel most in this country are racially biased. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.

This suggests that Americans think the country has grown less racially prejudiced during the Obama years. In January 2008 when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question, 24% of Adults said most Americans are racist, but 53% disagreed and 24% were not sure.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of black voters now agree that most Americans are not racist, a view shared by 67% of whites and 61% of voters of other races.

(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 Likely Voters was conducted on September 30-October 1, 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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