Positive ratings of Black-white relations at 20-year low: Gallup

U.S. adults' positive ratings of relations between Black and white Americans are at the lowest point in more than 20 years of measurement, according to a new survey released by Gallup on Wednesday.

According to the survey, 57 percent say relations between Black and white Americans are "somewhat" or "very" bad, while only 42 percent say they are "very" or "somewhat" good. This is the second consecutive year that the survey reached its lowest point over two decades.

In 2019, 51 percent of Americans said relations were "very" or "somewhat" good. However, after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, the rating dropped the following year as racial justice protests erupted nationwide.

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The survey was conducted June 1-July 5, which Gallup says includes an oversample of Black Americans weighted to their correct proportion of the population. Gallup notes that during the time of the survey, Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering Floyd, was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison.

In comparison to a 2001 survey, the rating dropped significantly. In 2001, 70 percent of U.S. adults rated Black-white relations positively, according to Gallup. 

"That [number] changed after several high-profile killings of unarmed Black people by police officers around the U.S. These incidents precipitated the formation of multiple social justice movements that remain active today," Gallup wrote. 

White Americans are typically more likely to rate race relations higher than Black Americans. However, Gallup noted that "slim majorities of both racial groups" rated the relations positively until 2016. Currently, though, a 10 point percentage gap separates Black and white adults' views of race relations.

Some Americans remain optimistic for a solution as 57 percent say a solution to the Black-white relation issue will be resolved and won't always be an issue. But, on the other hand, 40 percent of Americans say it will always be an issue.

However, there is a 20 point gap between Black and white Americans who believe a solution to the Black-white relation problem is possible. According to the survey, 60 percent of white adults believe there is a solution, while only 40 percent of Black adults say the same. Gallup notes that this is the largest gap recorded in the three-decade trend. 

The survey was conducted with a random sample of 1,381 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The survey results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95 percent confidence level.