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Majority of Americans Think Racial Discrimination Is a Serious Problem: Poll

Following a tragic week of two fatal police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and the sniper attack against police in Dallas, the political conversation has changed significantly. In the wake of several shooting incidents, a majority of American voters (52 percent) agree that racial discrimination against blacks in this country is an extremely or very serious problem.

As protests across the country continued into this week and in the wake of Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson's arrest, a plurality of registered voters (45 percent) said they approve of the Black Lives Matter movement while 42 percent disapprove of the movement, according to results from the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll conducted July 4 through July 10, 2016. Survey questions regarding the fatalities were asked July 8 through July 10, 2016.

Race will continue to play a significant role in the 2016 general election. While registered voters overall are split on whether they approve or disapprove of the Black Lives Matter movement, this overall number masks extreme differences by partisanship. An overwhelming majority of Republicans, 70 percent, disapprove of the movement. A similar number of Democrats, 73 percent, approve of the movement. Independents are divided.

On Tuesday, President Obama, Vice President Biden and former President George W. Bush will attend a Dallas memorial for fallen police officers at the invitation of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. They are expected to speak about the tragedy and race relations in this country.

Just over half of registered voters think racial discrimination against blacks in this country is an extremely or very serious problem. A quarter think racial discrimination is a somewhat serious problem, and 22 percent do not think it is a serious problem.

The results vary by party, however. Among Republicans, 42 percent think racial discrimination against blacks is a not so serious or not at all serious problem in this country. Just under eight in 10 — 77 percent — of Democrats think racial discrimination is an extremely or very serious problem. Half of Independents think it is an extremely or very serious problem.

Though most agree that racial discrimination is a problem in the United States, a majority of American voters are split on whether or not the use of deadly police force is affected by race. Half think that race doesn't affect police use of deadly force, but another 46 percent think that police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person.

Half of registered voters — 53 percent — are confident in Obama's ability to make the right decisions when it comes to race relations in this country. A similar number, 47 percent, are confident in presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's ability to make the right decisions, but 51 percent are not confident in her ability to handle race relations. Just under four in 10 (39 percent) are confident in presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's ability to make the right decision when it comes to race relations in this country. Six in 10 are not confident in Trump's decision making on race relations.

Race relations in this country continue to be at the forefront of national attention and it is clear that race will inevitably play a prominent role in the 2016 general election.

The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking poll was conducted online July 4 through July 10, 2016 among a national sample of 7,869 adults who say they are registered to vote. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points. For full results and methodology, please click here.