A record high number of Americans say they are worried about the state of race relations in the country, according to a new poll, the third straight year concerns about the issue have risen.
A Gallup poll released Wednesday says 42 percent of people in America say they worry a “great deal” about the nation’s race relations, an increase of seven percentage points over last year and 14 points more than 2015. The poll says the increases in worry over race stems from tensions over police violence involving African-Americans.
In high profile cases, the deaths of people like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others at the hands of law enforcement, have spurred heated, emotional and massive protests. Frustration welled further in cases in which grand juries decided not to indict the officers implicated in those deaths.
Police shootings of Castile and Sterling took place in Minnesota and Baton Rouge and retaliatory violence happened there and in Dallas after the Gallup poll was taken in 2016. Also, the election of President Trump, whose racially charged rhetoric, including a public feud with Rep. John Lewis could have fueled opinions, according to Gallup researchers.
The survey also categorized opinions among political affiliations. Democrats’ concerned about race relations are at 59 percent, while Independents and Republicans also saw increases to 26 and 17 percentage points, respectively, but they were lower than Democrats.
Gallup concluded that “whether the overall amount of worry about this issue goes up or down in the coming year will likely depend on how many high-profile incidents occur and how Americans react to Trump’s comments and actions related to race.”