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U.S. Satisfaction Higher Among Blacks, Hispanics Than Whites

U.S. Satisfaction Higher Among Blacks, Hispanics Than Whites
by Justin McCarthy

Story Highlights

  • About half of blacks, Hispanics satisfied with U.S. direction
  • Twenty-eight percent of whites satisfied
  • Large majority of each group satisfied with personal lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly half of American blacks (49%) and Hispanics (47%) are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., compared with 28% of whites. Satisfaction levels among these three groups have generally been steady in Minority Rights and Relations polls conducted since 2013.

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?
Satisfied
%
Total 34
Non-Hispanic whites 28
Blacks 49
Hispanics 47
Gallup, Jun 7-Jul 1, 2016

The latest reading, from Gallup's June 7-July 1 Minority Rights and Relations survey, was collected just before recent police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana that once again brought race relations to the forefront of public discussion. These data were also collected before the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers during a protest march.

Polling conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking earlier in the Obama administration, between 2009 and 2013, shows racial gaps in satisfaction similar to those seen today. By contrast, throughout the Bush administration from 2001 through 2008, whites were more satisfied with the direction of the country and blacks less satisfied, consistent with each racial groups' political leanings.

Blacks and Hispanics lean heavily Democratic, while whites lean Republican -- which appears to influence their views of the way things in the U.S. are going under presidents of their own party versus those of the opposing party.

More Than Four in Five Americans Satisfied With Personal Lives

While two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country as a whole, Americans are generally upbeat about the direction of their own lives. No less than 85% of those in any of the three major racial and ethnic groups say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their lives. This follows the general truism that Americans tend to be more positive about their personal lives and where they live than they are about the country as a whole. Additionally, personal satisfaction across all racial and ethnic groups is much more consistent than is U.S. satisfaction.

Unlike the racial gaps seen with U.S. satisfaction, there are small differences among whites, blacks and Hispanics in personal satisfaction. Whites and blacks have virtually identical satisfaction levels, at 89% and 88%, respectively, with Hispanics just slightly lower, at 85%.

Overall, how satisfied are you with your life -- are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied?
Very/Somewhat satisfied
%
Total 88
Non-Hispanic whites 89
Blacks 88
Hispanics 85
Gallup, Jun 7-Jul 1, 2016

Bottom Line

Even with the increased spotlight on police treatment of blacks and more focus on U.S. race relations, blacks' and Hispanics' satisfaction with the direction of the country remains about where it has been in recent years. These higher levels of satisfaction appear to reflect blacks' and Hispanics' Democratic orientation and their positive reaction to a Democratic president. Blacks are clearly more negative than whites about specific aspects of race relations, but their general outlook on the way things are going in the country is more positive.

Whites continue to be least satisfied with where the country is heading, most likely linked to their Republican orientation. It may also help explain why enough Republican voters gravitated toward Donald Trump's campaign promises about making America great again -- and his continued criticism of the way things are going in the U.S. under President Barack Obama -- to make Trump their party's nominee.

Regardless of race or ethnicity, most Americans have been satisfied with their own lives over the past 16 years, suggesting that even in times of widespread dissatisfaction with their country, Americans separate their personal circumstances from those going on in the country around them.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 7-July 1, 2016, with a sample of 3,270 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who had previously been interviewed in the Gallup Daily tracking poll and agreed to be re-interviewed for a later study. The sample is weighted to be representative of U.S. adults.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 1,320 non-Hispanic whites, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 912 non-Hispanic blacks, the margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. For results based on the sample of 906 Hispanics, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level (271 out of the 906 interviews with Hispanics were conducted in Spanish). All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

Gallup


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