LOUDONVILLE — Fewer than one-third of New Yorkers think race relations in this state are excellent or good, according to a poll released by the Siena College Research Institute on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 18.
According to the poll, just 7 percent think race relations are excellent and 24 percent think they are good. Conversely, 40 percent say they are fair and 24 percent say they are poor.
Despite a summer full of protests and riots in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, the 31-64 percent split is identical to what it was in June 2020 and down slightly from the 33-64 percent on MLK Day in 2020. In 2011, 55 percent viewed race relations positively, according to Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
“The more things change, the more things stay the same? Despite all the events, headlines and protests, and despite the national conversation that has taken place over the last year about race in America, little has changed – good or bad – regarding New Yorkers’ views about race relations and discrimination in the state,” Greenberg said. “Consistently over the last six years, fewer than 40 percent of New Yorkers have said that race relations are excellent or good. Today, only 31 percent say it, compared to a decade ago, MLK Day 2011, when 55 percent of New Yorkers thought race relations were positive.”
According to the poll, the Black Lives Matter movement has a 56-33 percent favaorability rating, down from 66 to 26 percent in June. Forty-eight percent of voters think the Black Lives Matter movement has had a positive impact on America, while 32 percent say it has had a negative impact and 13 percent say it has had no real impact.
“While 27 percent of Black and Latino voters view race relations in the state positively, a slightly larger 33 percent of white voters share that view, as do 34 percent of Democrats, 33 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents,” Greenberg said. “Voters are a little more upbeat in New York City, where 36 percent have a positive view of race relations, compared to 28 percent in the rest of the state.”
Seventy percent of voters say minorities — including Blacks, Hispanics and Asians — who live in New York experience racial discrimination compared to 22 percent who say they do not. That is little changed from the 73-19 percent in June and 72-18 percent on MLK Day last year.
By a similar 69-22 percent margin, voters say religious minorities — including Jews, Muslims and others — who live in New York experience discrimination based on their religious affiliation, down from 78-17 percent last year.
“While about two-thirds of whites believe that minorities experience racial discrimination, more than three- quarters of Latinos and 90 percent of Blacks say that people of color experience discrimination in the Empire State,” Greenberg said.
More Democrats, 85 percent, and two-thirds of voters not enrolled in a party think minorities face discrimination. Republicans, though, are split, with 45 percent saying there is discrimination and 41 who say there is not. More than three-quarters of voters from New York City and about two-thirds from the rest of the state say minorities face discrimination in New York, according to the poll.
Democrats overwhelmingly view BLM movement favorably, 77-16, while independent voters are mixed, viewing BLM favorably by a 44 to 40 margin. Republicans view BLM unfavorably by a 62 to 27 percent margin.
“One-third of New Yorkers – similar to the last three years – say that they themselves have been treated unfairly over the last year because of their race, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. More than two-thirds say that racial and religious minorities experience discrimination because of how they look or how they choose to pray,” Greenberg said. “As we honor Dr. King 92 years after his birth and 53 years after his assassination, New York still has a lot of work to do to continue bending that long arc of the moral universe toward justice.”
This Siena College Poll was conducted Jan. 10 through Jan. 13, by calling 804 New York state registered voters.