Perceived race relations in the United States have greatly improved under President Donald Trump, according to Gallup polling released Monday.
The annual Mood of the Nation survey, conducted Jan. 2-15, found that Americans’ satisfaction with race relations has leaped by 14 percentage points, or nearly two-thirds, since Trump took office. Fully 36 percent of Americans were satisfied with the situation, compared to just 22 percent at the end of two terms by Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president.
When it came to the “position of black and other racial minorities in the nation,” satisfaction jumped nine points, from 37 percent just before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 to 46 percent this month, Gallup said. There was also a nine-point increase is satisfaction with U.S. criminal justice.
Most Americans also felt positively about the positions of women and gays in society, according to the pollster.
The findings would seem to bely Democratic handwringing about surging white supremacy and patriarchy in Trump’s America, while also lending some credibility to the president’s claim to be “the least racist person” in the world.
Gallup is not alone in its findings on race relations
Nor is the Gallup poll anomalous.
A study published in May 2019 by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that racial bias had declined since Trump’s election. Political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins, who led the research, credited Trump for the change, though he speculated that Americans were recoiling from his “racist rhetoric.”
Last November, two national public opinion surveys showed Trump’s approval rating among black Americans surging to 34 percent. The sample sizes of blacks in both cases were small. But as Real Clear Politics put it October 2018: “Even 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic Party presidential hopes for 2020.”
White House officials have credited the rise in support from blacks and other minorities to historically low unemployment for blacks, hispanics and women, prison reform and urban renewal programs.
The Gallup survey also bolstered Trump’s assertions of growing U.S. strength and prosperity under his leadership. Public satisfaction with the state of the economy, military preparedness and security from terrorism has seen double-digit improvements.
Are you better off now than you were three years ago? Almost everyone say YES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2020
At the same time, Americans have grown slightly less satisfied on three issues: abortion, the level of immigration and the environment.
The State of the Union is strong
However, Trump has plenty to brag about at his State of the Union address, which is scheduled for next Tuesday. Overall, national satisfaction has hit a 15-year high of 47 percent, according to Gallup.
“Only in 2002 was the average for this metric substantially higher than it is today,” the pollster said. “The average 53% recorded that year reflected heightened satisfaction as Americans were in full ‘rally around the flag’ mode shortly after the 9/11 attacks.”