January 3, 2015
Madison Grady

Obama believes America "less racially divided," polling says otherwise

According to President Barack Obama, race relations in the US are better now than when he took office.

In a 40-minute interview the president gave NPR on Dec. 18, Obama asserted that day-to-day interactions in the US were "less racially divided." Asked whether there's more racial division now than when he took office in 2009, Obama replied, "No."

"I actually think that it's probably, in its day-to-day interactions, less racially divided," he declared.

But, according to recent nationwide polling, and SoonerPoll's recent quarterly poll among likely Oklahoma voters, Americans believe otherwise.

In SoonerPoll's statewide poll, a majority of Oklahomans (54.3 percent) believe that race relations in America have become worse under President Obama’s tenure as President than before his presidency in the last 20 years, with over one third (36.9 percent) believing it to be “Much worse”. Only 15.4 percent of Oklahomans believe race relations have become better.

[box]Click here for complete question wording/crosstabs[/box]

Half of Oklahoma Republicans believed race relations in America had become considerably worse under Obama’s tenure compared to the opinions of both Democrats (21.6 percent) and Independents (37.3 percent).

Men were also much more likely to respond “Much worse” to this question (43.6 percent) compared to women (31.1 percent).

These results are very similar to nationwide polling that found that 53% percent of Americans think race relations have worsened under Obama, compared with 36 percent who say they have stayed the same and 9 percent who say they have improved, a Bloomberg Politics poll found earlier this month.

"The president is completely out of touch with Oklahomans and Americans overall on this issue," said Bill Shapard, CEO of "While his initial election was a symbol of racial progress in America, President Obama and his policies have done little in the minds of Americans when it comes to bridging the racial divide."


About the Poll

The poll of 403 likely voters in Oklahoma was commissioned and conducted Dec 8-19, 2014 by and included 88 cellphone and 318 landline users. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.88 percentage points.

Poll results were weighted by age and congressional district, stratified by Oklahoma likely voters statewide. This poll conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll's Call Disposition and Rate Calculation report can be viewed here.


Madison Grady
About the Author

Madison Grady