November 21, 2016

Many voters, especially blacks, expect race relations to worsen following Trump’s election

Voters are far more pessimistic about progress in race relations under Donald Trump than they were after Barack Obama’s election eight years ago, and the shift has been particularly striking among blacks.

Nearly half of U.S. voters (46%) expect Trump’s election to lead to worse race relations, while just 25% say they will improve (26% say there will be no difference). By contrast, after Obama’s election eight years ago, 52% of voters expected race relations to improve, while just 9% said they would be worse; roughly a third (36%) said there would be little change.

A Pew Research Center survey of voters after Election Day finds that roughly three-quarters of blacks (74%) expect race relations to worsen following Trump’s election as president, while just 5% expect them to improve (17% expect little change). In 2008, these views were almost the reverse: 75% of black voters said Obama’s election would lead to better race relations, while about a quarter (24%) expected no difference in relations (less than 1% said race relations would worsen).

Whites also are less optimistic about progress in race relations under Trump than under Obama, though the shift has been less dramatic than among blacks. Today, 43% of whites expect race relations to get worse; just 10% said this in November 2008, after Obama’s victory.

A separate Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found sharp racial divides in views of race relations. Blacks were more likely than whites to say that race relations were generally bad, but they were also more likely to say that Obama has made progress on the issue during his tenure.

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, African Americans, 2016 Election, Donald Trump

  1. Photo of Shiva Maniam

    is a research assistant focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.


  1. Ann Smith8 months ago

    I’m nearly 50 years old – born in 1967.I think race relations are worse in the last 8 years than any time I remember in my life. Now remember, I was a young child in the 70’s with no opinion on race – people were just people and in my world, no-one made a big deal about race. I was a teenager and young adult in the later 80’s and early 90’s and was very open to all races, religions, cultures and ethnic groups, so were the people I knew. My ideas and the ideas of most everyone I know have changed drastically in the past 8 years. It was subtle at first, now it’s blatant. It’s sad because it feels like we’ve gone back 2 decades in the strides we had made on being a true melting pot. Blacks have had it drilled into them for the last 8 years that they are victims, that white people hate them and that they should focus on the past and riot instead of leaving it behind, learning from it and moving ahead. People are suspicious of other cultures, especially Muslims because there is a lot of evidence that what we’ve been told, over and over again (religion of peace) is actually a lie. As much as the government and laws try to force everyone together, the more everyone segregates themselves. Blacks want their own land, schools, organizations, clubs, etc. and want nothing to do with any other race. Whites are less likely to be open to a black because they are afraid of what’s going to happen, whether they get sued for being “racist”, beaten or robbed because they are white, hated without even knowing each other, etc. I wonder why this happened? What was the cause and why? What’s the end goal?

  2. Anonymous8 months ago

    I understand our expectations for a new president. I would like to know what percentage of the 75% of voters who supported Obama in 2008 – who believed that race relations would improve – think race relations actually improved? And in eight years, I hope you will survey people again to assess their 2016 expectations vs their current opinions.

  3. Anonymous8 months ago

    What about Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, and Mixed-race people?

  4. Packard Day8 months ago

    It’s tempting to ask, do you mean worse than things already are? On the other hand, it all appears like a simple question of what economic class do you belong to. For those Blacks living in a top 10% American household, life these past eight years has been better than good for their personal incomes and net worths. Unfortunately, the bottom 90% of Blacks saw their incomes and net wealths either stagnate or more likely, lose ground during this same period. Moral: Happiness can’t buy money.

  5. Doug Saint Carter8 months ago

    How in the world has Obama made progress on race relations during his tenure? We’ve had more rioting, burning of property, looting, attacks on whites and calls for violence from blacks than most of us can remember in our lifetime. Where Is Love

    1. Anonymous8 months ago

      Where is the historical accuracy,Doug? Very interesting narrative you have there.

    2. Donna Caudill8 months ago

      Agreed, lol.

      If anything, I think Trump’s election might help encourage law-abiding blacks to speak out about problems within their communities, because they know that the new administration actually understands that blacks have the constitutional right to life, liberty, and property too, and that the thugs on the streets (and the unbelievably high rate of black on black crime, perpetrated by those thugs) effectively take those rights away.

      This is one hell of a lot better than what usually happens to such people, i.e. being called a racist epithet (Uncle Tom) by less law-abiding blacks and SJW types who profiteer on the misery of the ghettos, while everyone else turns their back for fear that they, too, will be groundlessly labeled as “racist”.

    3. Anonymous8 months ago

      Very accurate from anyone’s point of view