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Black Americans More Optimistic Than Whites About the Economic Future

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While white Americans are more satisfied with their own financial situation than blacks after the long economic downturn, blacks are significantly more optimistic about what the future holds for them and the economy, according to a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University poll conducted Jan. 27 – Feb.9. (Story; Poll Data).

There was also a significant divide in how whites and blacks rated President Obama's economic policies, with whites taking a far dimmer view than blacks.

Sixty percent of whites said they were satisfied with their own personal financial situation, compared with 51 percent of blacks. But 85 percent of blacks said they were optimistic about the future course of the economy while 72 percent of whites held that view.

A greater percentage of blacks believe that an economic recovery has started or will start soon. Thirty-two percent said the economy was recovering, 39 percent said it will start recovering soon and 26 percent predicted recovery will take a long time. However, only 19 percent of whites said the economy was recovering, 24 percent believed it would start to recover soon and 56 percent said it would take a long time.

Eighty-four percent of blacks felt hopeful about their personal financial situation, compared with 73 percent of whites.

Fifty percent of whites believed that the country's "best years are behind us" as far as the availability of good jobs, compared with 59 percent of blacks who say "the best times are yet to come."

Eighty-six percent of whites were somewhat or very dissatisfied with the state of the economy, compared with 72 percent of blacks.

The results for Hispanic-Americans were more mixed.

Hispanics generally saw themselves as worse off than whites or blacks as far as their finances and the impact of the recession on them, and their views about the future of the economy tended to be less optimistic than those of blacks.

While about two-thirds of whites and blacks considered themselves somewhat or very secure financially, only 53 percent of Hispanics felt that way. A smaller percentage of Hispanics say they have full-time jobs than whites or blacks. And Hispanics consider themselves far more vulnerable than blacks or whites in terms of how long they could hold out financially if they lost their paychecks. (About a quarter of Hispanics said they could hold out six months or longer, compared with 34 percent for blacks and 35 percent for whites).

Blacks in the survey reported feeling less stress from the economic situation than whites or Hispanics. Fifty-six percent said the current economic situation has not been a cause of stress for them while 56 percent of whites and 58 percent of Hispanics says it has.

There are similarities among all three groups in some of the ways they coped with the recession. A plurality of whites, blacks and Hispanics described the changes they made in their lifestyles as minor, while the percentage of each group saying the changes had been major ranged from 26 percent to 29 percent. Around two-thirds of each group minimized use of utilities, like heating and electricity. A little over a third of each postponed medical or dental care. About a fifth said they put off retirement. Roughly 7 out of 10 or more had cut back on vacations, dining out and entertainment. About 4 in 10 took extra jobs or worked extra hours.

Whites had a distinctly more negative view of President Obama's economic program than blacks or Hispanics. Eighteen percent of whites said Obama's policies had improved the economy, 36 percent said they had made it worse, 39 percent said they had no effect and 6 percent offered no opinion.

By contrast, 59 percent of black and 36 percent of Hispanics believed Obama's policies had made things better. Only 5 percent of blacks and 13 percent of Hispanics said they had made things worse. Thirty-two percent of blacks and 44 percent of Hispanics said the administration's policies had produced no effect.

Asked whether the Obama administration was doing enough to look out for the interests of "you and your family," 63 percent of blacks said it was doing the right amount, compared with 42 percent of whites. Fifty-four percent of Hispanics said the administration's efforts were about right.

Sixty percent of whites said the administration was doing too little for the working class, compared with 34 percent of blacks and 42 percent of Hispanics who held that view. Fifty-eight percent of whites deemed the administration's efforts on behalf of the middle class as too little, compared with 33 percent for blacks and 32 percent for Hispanics.


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103 Comments

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Sekinu2

Well there will always be skewed numbers if you poll like this as your going to find majority african americans are democrates while most of the white people will be republicans so your party line polling first. Then you have to figure in Obama being the first African American pres there is that routing for your guy hope there. The fact is Obama has been the worse president in history. He obviously has no clue of reality and his unchecked spending has crippled the country for the next 20 plus years. You can hope and cheer all you want but you can't shine a turd and Obama is a giant turd who has only hurt the working middle class along with upper and lower class. At least he is equal and screwing us all .

February 22 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
pmbalele

Bruce Drake-you better take polls this week. Those polls willl change this week because both Blacks and Whites now hate republicans. Republicans White House bid has been doomed by Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. American people, including TEA Partiers, now regret they campaigned and voted for Walker in Wisconsin. There were 70,000 people picketing against Walker last week. Say if these 70,000 people have each 10 relatives, you are talking about 700,000 people in Wisconsin that hate Walker and republicans as whole. Walker has spoilt political bid for other republicans. American people will never again elect republican as lawmakers or leaders. Blacks and White Americans have now found evidence and reason why they should fear republicans.

February 22 2011 at 11:20 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pmbalele's comment
Sekinu2

pmbalele....Sooo where would you get that info from as its exactly the opposite of the truth whites don't hate repiblicans tea partiers arent mad about wisconsin as its actually what both back. The state is bankrupt and can not afford to keep those teachers who make an average of $60000 plus $40000 in benefits a year, have schools in the lowest scoring districts in the country, and aren't in class teaching. The fact is you have to get rid of tenoured teachers and be performance based salaries. The gov is trying to save the jobs. If he doesn't make this move then it won't matter on the benefits he will have to just fire them so its either work the numbers and keep the jobs for the teachers or keep the benefits at same rates and fire half the teacher force. So to me it is obvous keep the jobs reduce the benfits so checks keep flowing but you get a very lazy democratic base that wants everything for nothing and think money just grows on trees. Republicans and teapartiers which I am both believe in financial responsibility unlike these lazy teachers and our horrible anti american president. Know before you make things up.

February 22 2011 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
fpfp040408

Very soon in DC on the National Mall there will be an African American museum. It is about time this nation built a museum honoring and acknowledging all the great contributions made by African Americans. This nation would not be the greatest country without all the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans. Of course a shining example of this is our great president President OBAMA, who will go down in history as the greatest president this country has ever had who saved this country. It is great to see this nation has progressed far enough so that ALL have an equal chance at being happy & optimistic

February 22 2011 at 10:29 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
oldengineera2

I hope for a better economic future for all Americans; I could not care less whether black, white, yellow, brown, or purple. A better future requires much more growth in private industry jobs, the jobs that pay taxes and generate new wealth rather than suck up taxes and redistribute wealth someone else created. For Americans of whatever color, wealth generation is key: the bigger the pie, the greater the size of each person's fair share.
I think it is a mistake of tragic proportions to believe the Federal government would divvy out privately-generated wealth more fairly than a truly free market, that is, one without some politician's thumb on the scales.

February 21 2011 at 11:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
fromsandman

It's amazing to me that people still have so much hate about race in this country. Oil prices are rising faster then they have in years. With the constant and growing conflicts in the middle East gas prices are expected to reach record numbers. Now couple that reality with the greed of oil companies and you have $6.00 dollars a gallon at the pump! Food prices, clothing, education, and transportation cost rising from 10% to 20% during this same time period. Economic recovery is still stalled and millions more are expected to lose their jobs, savings, and their homes. That means more unemployed across the nation, and the addition of thousands more homeless in our streets, and the rise in crime as just one of the many consequences of hopelessness. And yet with our nation bleeding to death with debt and all the aforementioned problems that many of us are suffering with on a daily basis. Some still find enough hatred left in them for race. Amazing!

February 21 2011 at 9:30 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to fromsandman's comment
jjohnblack090

This is to Micheal...................Boo hoo hoo cry me a river. You don't know nothing about Black pewople or poor people period. What you claim you went though is nothing compared to what my family went though and we had the added burden of being Black in the late fifties and early sixties and living in the South. So we know all about coming up being poor. And we don't continually put down people who are now in the same position we came up in the way you do. You should try an have empathy for people liks this but instead you think you are oh so high and mighty now and you can look at these people with scorn. So don't come here with some boo hoo sob story that you probably made up as you were going along.

February 21 2011 at 4:19 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jjohnblack090's comment
Michael

My CV is verifiable to the last detail. Perhaps we should have a beer summit. I am not unaware of the struggles of black people or those of the Irish immigrants who competed with slaves for wages as indentured servants fleeing famine (my family's history). I never complained or boo hoo hooed in my life; I simply found work I was interested in and learned how to do it, and found employers willing to pay me for it. My son in law is black, a good husband and father, and I love him. Why do you treat me as a caricature of white bigotry and blueblood privilege when you know nothing of my life history and even express doubts of my veracity? I am sorry your youth was difficult. I do not scorn you, but I pity your own self-pity. I put no one down; I encourage people without hope to look at what is possible with grit, determination, hard work, and yes, plenty of good luck. A wise person once sadi "the harder I work, the luckier I get".

February 21 2011 at 9:30 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
watson185

cruisedoc wrote*****Hawaii was admitted to the union about a year or so after Obama was born.****Okay doc, now you are just lying outright. Hawaii was incoorperated into the Union August 21, 1959. President Obama was born on August 4, 1961. His parents met in Hawaii and were Married in Hawaii. Good try at keeping the right wing talk points alive. But, a quick check of the facts reveals the lies being perpetrated against our President.

February 21 2011 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
cplkling

If you consider that over 70% of Whites and 85% of Blacks have optimism that the Economy will improve, those are big numbers for both groups. My question is, why do we have to look at these polls through the Racial Prism? As much talk that there is about trying to get past the racial divide, there is the press CONSTANTLY making Race an issue. Shame on them! It seems as if the Journalists fans the flames of Racism so that the story won't go away, or so that it fits their template of how we are to think and behave. Double shame on them!!

February 21 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
fpfp040408

Very soon in DC on the National Mall there will be an African American museum. It is about time this nation built a museum honoring and acknowledging all the great contributions made by African Americans. This nation would not be the greatest country without all the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans. Of course a shining example of this is our great president President OBAMA, who will go down in history as the greatest president this country has ever had who saved this country. It is great to see this nation has progressed far enough so that ALL have an equal chance at being happy & optimistic

February 21 2011 at 11:34 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jjjohnblack055

This is for Micheal......You act as if nobody in this country that work and pay taxes are ultra conservatives like you. Maybe if it is because you have lived a privileged life and everything was handed to you and you never had to work for anything. But the way most Black people grew up we were taught to always strive to do better and always be optimistic and never let things stand in your way and don't listen to people who say you can't do it. But in your fantasy world you think that everybody who is down and out and though no fault of their own is a democrat and a freeloader. Not to never wish you or anybody like you any hard luck but I would just love for you to loose everything you have and have to start all over from scratch and there was nobody to help you. No family, no trust funds, no bank loans no nothing and see how long you or anybody like you would last. The suicide rate would probably triple. The reason being is that you don't have or offer no hope not for anybody or anything. All you have to offer is scorn.

February 20 2011 at 9:46 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jjjohnblack055's comment
Michael

Ms/Mr Black:
You know so little about me. I was the fourth of six children in an intact loving family whose breadwinner never made more than $5,000 in any single year. I left home at 16 AFTER graduating high school. I went 1200 miles away to enter a university that had an automotive engineering curriculum, my interest. As my family had obviously no resources to help (3 ollder siblings were also in college, working their ways through) and I narrowly missed a National Merit scholarship after qualifying as a finalist, I got a JOB at a car dealership and worked 56 hours a week as a mechanic to pay the steep out-of-state tuition.
That is the sort of privileged life I had. I was drafted in to the US Army and served in the States; I do not claim to be a hero. I did do my duty.
I later worked for years in automotive, eventually using my savings to open a motorcycle shop. Your wish for me came true when my manufacturer went broke in 1976 and I was busted out of by business with no one to help.
I had a family with children to feed by then, so I went to work for the State in Administrative Law Enforcement after placing second in the State on the Civil Service exam. Tree yers of stste service was enough for me; I resigned to take a job at a major auto manufacturer's Experimental Engineering department. Thirty years and eight patents later, I retired.
I recognize the ill will you freely express toward me personally.
Given the facts, how do you justify your scorn?

February 21 2011 at 7:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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