Washington, May 5: As Baltimore returns to an uneasy peace after riots over the police custody death of a black man, over six in ten Americans say race relations in the US are bad, the highest percentage since 1992, according to a new poll.
Just a third of Americans now say race relations are good, while majorities of both whites and blacks now view race relations negatively, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll released on Monday.
The poll by telephone April 30-May 3 among a random sample of 1,027 adults tionwide found that 79 percent of African Americans think police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than a white person.
But 53 percent of whites say race does not play a role in such instances, according to the survey which also found that blacks are more likely than whites to report that their local police make them feel anxious rather than safe.
In the wake of the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, 25, in Baltimore and the unrest that followed, Americans’ views on race relations in the US have grown significantly more pessimistic, the poll found.
Sixty-one percent now say race relations are generally bad, up 23 points from earlier this year. It is the first time a majority has held this view since the 1990s.
These opinions are the most negative this poll has found since 1992, when riots broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers in the beating of Rodney King, CBS News said.
For the first time since 1997, majorities of both whites and blacks think race relations in the US are bad. Opinions among white Americans have grown sharply more negative in this poll, and are the reverse of what they were earlier this year.
Sixty-two percent of whites now say race relations are bad, compared to just 35 percent in February. Historically, blacks have had a more negative view of race relations than whites-but whites are now similarly pessimistic. Majorities of men, women and Americans of all age groups now say race relations are bad. In addition, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans thinks race relations are improving in the US. Most either think they are getting worse (44 percent) or staying about the same (37 percent).
Even though majorities across all age groups say their local police make them feel safe, younger Americans are more likely than those who are older to say the police in their community make them feel anxious. Whites and blacks also hold different views on the role race plays in the use of deadly force by the police. Seventy-nine percent of African-Americans think police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person than a white person, while a slim majority of whites - 53 percent - think race does not play a role, the poll found. (IANS)