Readers of The Root.com have already weighed in on their opinions of President Barack Obama just in time for his State of the Union adddress tonight. The Root.com recently released the results of its extensive reader survey gauging how people assess President Obama’s achievements, exactly two years after he took office.
With more than 400 respondents identifying themselves as African-American, the results bring about a clearer picture than ever before of the African-American opinion of Barack Obama, as well as shine a light on the sharp divide between respondents of different races on how they view Obama and the overall racial climate in the country.
Some of the survey findings and data snapshots include:
Solid majorities of both blacks (89%) and whites (74%) rated his leadership as either “very effective” or “somewhat effective.” Still, 23% of whites rated the Obama’s leadership as either “somewhat” or “very” ineffective, versus 8% of blacks.
75% of blacks and 62% of whites said that Obama was addressing their needs. 29% of whites said that he was not, compared with just 15% of blacks.
MEDIA AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF OBAMA
The media had a stronger impact on how whites see President Obama, compared with blacks. 65% of whites said that their perception of him is influenced by the media, compared with 40% of blacks.
Majorities of both blacks and whites agreed (94 percent and 72 percent, respectively) that “racism plays a role in how President Obama is perceived.” A sharp divergent in perception, just 15 percent of whites believe that hate crimes, police brutality and injustice against African Americans have increased since Obama took office, while 40 percent of blacks say such crimes have increased.
Blacks and whites were nearly in agreement (37.5 percent and 40.6 percent, respectively) that opportunities for jobs and career advancement had improved for African Americans under Obama’s administration, compared with that of President George W. Bush. However, far more blacks felt negatively about employment opportunities (32 percent) for African Americans under Obama than did whites (18.5 percent).
3 times as many blacks (12%) as whites (4%) rated education as “important” to them. 4 in 10 in both groups saw either no improvement or a decline in the quality of education as a result of the president’s Race to the Top initiative, although a larger number of blacks than whites (38% versus 24%, respectively) saw some educational gains.
On programs that directly benefit African Americans — a subject that the Obama administration has considered sensitive — a small majority of whites (52%) backed the $850 million package of support for historically black colleges and universities. Of course, black support for this program was significantly stronger (85.6%).
“There are numerous surveys out there regarding the public opinion of Barack Obama, but what The Root’s survey does that sets it apart is hone in on the African-American opinion of our President and the way he’s handling various policies,” said Joel Dreyfuss, managing editor of The Root. “African-American support of Obama will be critical to his re-election campaign in 2012, and this survey identifies where black Americans feel satisfied in his efforts and where the President needs to improve.”
The online survey was conducted online from January 14th through January 16th. Participants were self-selecting. Of the 1,006 participants, 421 identified themselves as African-American; 386 identified as white, 41 indicated that they were Hispanic (which can be of any race); 15 identified as Asian; 58 said they were of mixed racial background; and the rest either indicated another race, no race or did not answer the question.
For more information on the survey results, visit: http://www.theroot.com/views/rating-obama-its-down-black-and-white