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

(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.

Revelers at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle celebrate President Obama's inauguration.
Revelers at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle celebrate President Obama's inauguration.   (AP Photo)
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These are dramatic findings. We expected that there may be an Obama effect, and it was really quite dramatic—which isn't to say that this era as measured in this survey means that all is fine between blacks and whites. - Andrew Kohut, Pew Research Center

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