Race Relations Have Gotten Worse Since the 1960s, Nearly 30 Percent of Americans Say in Poll

Nearly one-third of Americans think race relations have gotten worse since the 1960s, a new poll found this week.

The survey from YouGov/The Economist released on Wednesday asked respondents: "Since the 1960's, do you think race relations in the United States have gotten" better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

Twenty-nine percent of U.S. adults said race relations had gotten worse, according to the poll. Forty-four percent of U.S. adults said race relations had improved, while 26 percent said they had stayed about the same since the '60s.

The '50s and '60s were, of course, in many ways defined by the Civil Rights movement that fought for equal rights for black Americans.

Black Americans especially felt race relations had declined—42 percent said things had gotten worse since the '60s, while 26 percent said either race relations had improved or stayed about the same.

White Americans were far more inclined to feel race relations had improved. Just 26 percent said race relations had gotten worse, while nearly half—48 percent—felt they had improved, according to the YouGov/The Economist survey. Thirty-four percent of Hispanic respondents felt race relations had improved since the 1960s, while 35 percent said about the same and 30 percent said worse.

There was also a divide along party lines. A majority of Republicans, 52 percent, said race relations improved since the 1960s. Just 23 percent of GOP respondents felt they had gotten worse. Meanwhile, 33 percent of Democrats felt race relations had gotten worse, but still a plurality—41 percent—felt they had improved, according to the YouGov/The Economist poll.

The survey polled 1,500 U.S. adults from August 12 through 14. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

march racist
Police escort far-right demonstrators during a rally at Lafayette Park opposite the White House on August 12 in Washington, D.C., one year after the deadly violence at a similar protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. A poll showed a significant number of Americans think race relations have worsened since the '60s. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

The poll comes on the heels of a "Unite the Right" rally in Washington, D.C., an event carried out by white supremacists exactly one year after a similar march in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned deadly. But while just a couple dozen white supremacists bothered to show up, hordes of counter-protesters smothered the march.

Still, in the era of President Donald Trump, race relations have certainly proven contentious. He ran on—and has enacted—hard-line immigration stances and often makes comments that are seen as racially insensitive.

"From campaign to election, this president has spewed the language of division and hate and it has manifested in not only racist policies but in racists [sic] acts against people of color and other groups," said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson in a June statement.

Race Relations Have Gotten Worse Since the 1960s, Nearly 30 Percent of Americans Say in Poll | U.S.