Oklahomans think race relations are good, and they’ve thought so for a while.
A recent SoonerPoll on the status of race relations found that Oklahoma voters express remarkably similar opinions on race relations as they did 22 months ago, July 2008, when President Barack Obama first secured the Democratic nomination.
The poll found 52.2 percent of respondents believe race relations are good, compared to 52.1 percent in 2008. Less than one percent said relations are excellent, compared to the 2 percent who said relations were excellent in 2008.
The most recent poll found that 34.3 percent of respondents believe race relations are not so good, compared to 32.8 in 2008. Just 9.6 percent of respondents say that relations are poor, almost exactly the same as in 2008.
“There has been a lot of discussion about the infusion of racial factors into American politics,” Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll, said. “But, Oklahoma voters are not perceiving any decay in race relations.”
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters from Feb. 25 – March 8. The study has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent. This study was compared to a similar study conducted from June 25 – July 2008, of 609 likely voters that has a margin of error of ± 3.97 percent.
In July 2008 SoonerPoll asked whether Oklahomas “think Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s candidacy would do more to help or more to hurt race relations in this country?” The responses varied as 22.5 percent said it would hurt and 26.8 said it would help. However, the largest response was the 44.3 percent who said they believed it would make little difference.
Now, a year and a half later the exact same question regarding the state of race relations was asked and the current results are within 1.5 points of the 2008 results in every category. The 44.3 percent who said they believed Barack Obama’s candidacy would make little difference to race relations appear to be right, not only about his candidacy, but also his presidency.
“The conversation is still open regarding whether the Obama presidency produced a post-racial society. But at best, the public expressed no sense that anything has really changed. Race relations, for Oklahoma voters, are where they were before the Obama presidency,” Gaddie noted.