Americans Are Less Optimistic About Race Relations


New LifeWay Research determines that Americans are less hopeful about race after the previous administration.

Fewer Americans believe our nation has made significant progress in race relations, and a majority say things grew worse under Donald Trump’s presidency.

A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research conducted prior to the 2020 election finds U.S. adults are less likely now than in 2014 to agree with the statement “We have come so far on racial relations.” Today, 46% say we have made worthwhile progress—28 points fewer than in 2014 when 74% said the same.

Americans are also twice as likely to disagree than in 2014. Today, 46% don’t believe we have come a long way on race relations, while it was 23% in 2014.

“With a change in methodology from telephone in 2014 to online, we cannot say definitively if this decreased optimism is an actual change in sentiment or increased forthrightness,” said Scott McConnell executive director of Lifeway Research. “Regardless, optimism on race relations is lower than we previously thought.”

White Americans are the most likely to say we’ve made significant progress (51%), while African Americans are the most likely to disagree (66%).

Religiously unaffiliated Americans are the religious group least likely to agree with the statement (38%). Among Christians, those who attend at least monthly (57%) are more likely than those who attend less frequently (39%) to believe the nation has come a long way on race relations. Americans with evangelical beliefs are more likely to agree (58%) than those without such beliefs (43%).

Religious influence

When thinking about how to improve race relations, most Americans (57%) say religious leaders play a positive role. Around a quarter (24%) disagree, and 18% aren’t sure.

Currently, some of the most …

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