More people in the U.S. are worried about race relations now than in the past two decades, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday.
About 42 percent of respondents said they “personally worry” a “great deal” about race, a significant jump for the third consecutive year. The rate was lowest, at 13 percent, shortly after former President Barack Obama took office.
Respondents were also asked the party they belong to; Republicans, despite being blamed for capitalizing on identity politics under Trump, polled the lowest and were the only to have the same numbers as last year. Democrats polled at 30 points higher – 59 percent who are concerned – while Independents were, for the first time, significantly above the Republicans.
“Race relations or racism has emerged as one of the top issues on Gallup’s most important problem list, rising from 1 percent to 3 percent of Americans mentioning the issue throughout much of 2014 to 18 percent doing so in July 2016 after incidents of violence between police and black men, making it the most important problem that month,” wrote Gallup.
Gallup added that Black Lives Matter, Donald Trump and increasingly visible police brutality are likely driving the trend up.
“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 (police brutality) incidents occur and how Americans react to Trump’s comments and actions related to race.”