Black Optimism Surges About 40% say they're better off now than 5 years ago, up from 20% By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff Posted Jan 12, 2010 2:23 PM CST 28 comments Comments Revelers at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle celebrate President Obama's inauguration. (AP Photo) (Newser) – The last two years have seen a big increase in black Americans’ sense of how well-off they are in society. A Pew poll concludes that the election of President Obama was a “spur for this sharp rise in optimism,” in which 39% of respondents say they are better off than they were five years ago, up from 20% in 2007. The increase is the biggest in 25 years, reports the Washington Post. Still, a big divide exists in perceptions of racism. Among black people, 43% see "a lot" of discrimination against them, but only 13% of white people agree with that assessment, notes Politics Daily. And when it comes to Obama, 52% of blacks think his race is a large reason people are opposed to his efforts, an opinion held by just 17% of whites.