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.
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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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