Trump Has Worsened Race Relations, Most Americans Say In New Poll

(CN) – President Donald Trump has hurt U.S. race relations even more than many predicted he would immediately after the 2016 election, a new Pew Research Center survey finds.

Immediately after Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton last year, the Pew Research Center asked Americans what they thought the future would hold on a number of issues.

When it came to race, the center found that 46 percent of the voters it spokes to believed Trump’s election would lead to worsened race relations.

The remainder of voters were split almost equally between people who said Trump would make things better the race, and those who said nothing would change.

But in the latest survey by the center, 60 percent of the 1,500 people who participated said they believe Trump’s election has led to worse race relations.

Only 8 percent of those who participated in the survey conducted between Nov. 29 and Dec. 4 said Trump’s election has led to better race relations, while 30 percent said it has not made a difference.

Most of the increase in negative opinions about Trump’s impact on race relations came among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Just after the election, only 10 percent of Republicans predicted worse race relations, but in the survey 25 percent said Trump has made race relations worse.

There has been little change among Democrats and those who described themselves as “leaning” Democratic. In the latest survey, 83 percent said Trump made race relations worse, a modest increase from the 81 percent who predicted he would do so last year.

Optimism about the state of race relations in American reached a high shortly after President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, but views of Obama’s impact on race relations quickly grew less optimistic.

Immediately after the November 2008 election, 52 percent of Americans said Obama’s victory would lead to better race relations. A year later, only 36 percent said race relations had improved.

However, only 13 percent of Americans in November 2009 said Obama’s election had actually made race relations worse.

The public’s positive views of race relations in America declined significantly in 2014 and 2015, following the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014.

Brown’s death sparked protests across the country and focused attention to the deaths of several other unarmed black men who were also killed by police officers.

In 2014, 47 percent of Americans said race relations were “generally good,” but by May 2015, 61 percent of the country said that race relations were “generally bad.”

That same year, optimism about race relations were at the lowest point (34 percent) since the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when only 25 percent of Americans believed race relations were “generally good.”

Today, 38 percent of Americans believe race relations are “generally good.”

The new Pew survey also found that while a majority of Americans (65 percent) say there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between blacks and whites in the U.S., even more Americans (86 percent) say there are strong conflicts between Republicans and Democrats.

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