Poll Shows Concern About American Race Relations Reaching a New High

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Over a third of Americans are deeply concerned about the state of race relations in the country — the highest percentage that Gallup has documented in 15 years of polling the public about the matter.

The new poll shows that the 35% report worrying "a great deal" about the problem of race relations, seven points higher than in 2015, and over double the proportion who felt that way in 2014. 

Source: Gallup

Political ideology is modestly predictive of the degree of concern. The percentage of liberals who report being worried a great deal stands at 42%, in contrast to 28% of conservatives. 

Blacks (53%) are almost twice as likely to report being deeply troubled as whites (27%).

Source: Gallup

Despite the surge in attention to race relations, it remains a second-tier issue. Gallup says that, relative to other topics of concern tested, race relations still ranks near the bottom of the pile, overshadowed by issues like health care and the economy. 

The biggest factor fueling the uptick in worry over race relations is likely the sustained national conversation about racial bias in law enforcement and the criminal justice system that began in the summer of 2014, after the death of an unarmed black teen Michael Brown at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Missouri.