Race relations in America drops to new lows as 30 percent report dissatisfaction

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(REUTERS/Tami Chappell)Barbara Carter of Tuscaloosa holds a sign as she waits on a commemorative march by the cast of the movie "Selma" in Selma, Alabama January 18, 2015. Stars of the Oscar-nominated movie "Selma" marched with thousands of people in the Alabama city on Sunday afternoon in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

PRINCETON, N.J. (Christian Examiner) -- Americans are notably less satisfied about race relations in the country this year than they were at the same time last year. 

The annual Mood of the Nation poll conducted by Gallup confirmed the obvious Monday, on the same day the nation observed the birthday of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. with its statistical representation of the current racial tension in America. Other significant areas noted by the study included national security from terrorism and the improvement of the economy.

According to Gallup, the January 5-8 poll asked a random sample of 804 adults by phone to rate their feelings about the state of the nation on 27 areas. Of the most notable issues was the topic of race relations which dropped to a 30 percent satisfaction rating when compared to 55 percent during the same time frame last year.

The notable 25-point drop comes in the wake of a year filled with perceived race-related events like August's fatal shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, following the chokehold of a white police officer in July; and the point blank retaliatory shootings of two New York police officers in December.

(Gallup)Satisfaction of national security from terrorism landed as number four on the list of 27 areas polled for satisfaction by Gallup earlier this month.

In the study Gallup also noted the issue of race "elicited high mentions" in the organization's "Most Important Problem" list published in December.

When displaying the aspects of American life on a list from most satisfactory to least satisfactory, "overall quality of life;" "military strength;" and "the opportunity to get ahead by working hard" were the top three satisfactory items in the nation. The least two satisfactory items were the "state of race relations," and the "nation's efforts to deal with poverty and homelessness."

National security from terrorism landed as number four on the list with a 59 percent satisfaction rate, down 10 points from last year's 69 percent.

American's satisfaction with the economy climbed 13 points to 41 percent this year. Though better than last year, the 41 percent satisfaction rate of the improved economy only rose to roughly the middle of the group.

The researchers also compared the 2015 study to results from January 2008, the last time the measures were taken before Obama was inaugurated as president. The comparison showed a steep fall in satisfaction in several areas.

"Over the same period, satisfaction is down in seven areas -- most sharply on race relations, where it has fallen among all party groups, and the U.S. system of government and how well it works, down mainly among Republicans," the report stated.

The report's authors suggested rising economic satisfaction will likely influence Obama's Sate of the Union address Tuesday.

The improvement in economic progress, "provides Obama with an opportunity to tout his successes while still asking Congress to support additional economic measures. It also frees him to make proposals that may have seemed extravagant at the height of the recession, such as his plan to subsidize tuition at community colleges for students who meet certain conditions," they wrote.