White Americans are much more likely than nonwhite citizens to view police and the U.S. justice system as essentially color-blind, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday afternoon. 

The poll found that 57 percent of white Americans said nearly no police officers, if any, are prejudiced against black people. Just a quarter of nonwhite respondents said the same.

Forty-two percent of nonwhite respondents said "most" or "some" police officers in their area were prejudiced against members of the black community. Only 17 percent of white respondents held the same view. 


The poll comes two days after a gunman ambushed and shot dead two New York Police Department officers sitting in their patrol car, in apparent retribution for the involvement of police in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, N.Y.

Separate grand juries decided not to indict the white police officers involved in the deaths of Brown and Garner, both unarmed black men. The Department of Justice is investigating both cases.

Half of white Americans said that the U.S. criminal justice system treats white and black citizens equally, according to the poll, while nearly 7 in 10 nonwhite respondents, 69 percent, said the system favors whites over blacks.

Urban respondents in the poll, which was conducted mostly before the Saturday shooting in New York, were more likely than those in rural or suburban areas to say police treat black citizens differently.

The poll found that more affluent people were less inclined to see the police as prejudiced. Fifty-three percent of those making more than $50,000 annually said police were less prejudiced, if at all. The same view was held by 42 percent of people who earn less than that amount. 

Responses also broke sharply along party lines. Among Republicans, 67 percent said all or most police were not prejudiced against black people, compared to 28 percent of Democrats who said the same.

The population as a whole was almost evenly divided on whether to see the future of race relations in the United States optimistically or pessimistically.

Forty-six percent of white respondents and 48 percent of nonwhite respondents say race will "always" be a problem, compared to 53 percent of white and 50 percent of nonwhite respondents who say that a "solution will be worked out."

The survey of 748 white and 263 nonwhite Americans was conducted Dec. 18-21 via landlines and cellphones with a margin of error of 3.5 points for white respondents and 6.5 points for nonwhite respondents.