Race relations on the mend in California, poll finds
April 13, 2015
A recent poll of voters across the state indicates that Californians believe race relations are improving, but racial discrimination remains widespread. [LA Times]
Nearly two-thirds of participants in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll said they believe race relations are better in California than elsewhere in the country. Most of those surveyed also think race relations in California are stable or improving.
Less than 25 percent of participants said race relations in the state are getting worse. Still, an overwhelming majority of voters surveyed said blacks and Latinos face substantial discrimination.
The poll found that 43 percent of California voters think police are generally tougher on blacks than any other group. That figure has increased 10 percent since September, following a string of fatal police shootings of black men elsewhere in the U.S.
Nearly 75 percent of participants said race relations are good or excellent in their neighborhoods. But, just under 50 percent hold that view of California as a whole.
When asked if they frequently mingle with people of another race in settings like parties or picnics, 45 percent said they do. Only 33 percent of responders said they frequently mingle with people of another race in their place of worship.
California’s population is 39 percent white, 38 percent Latino, 14 percent Asian, 7 percent black and 2 percent Native American.
Whites and Asians face the least discrimination, according to the poll. A little more than 50 percent of those surveyed said Asians face discrimination at least sometimes, and 29 percent said whites face discrimination at times.
When asked about immigration, 57 percent of participants said they believe illegal immigrants have a mostly positive effect on the state’s economy. Five years ago, 40 percent of voters held that view of illegal immigrants.
Pollsters also asked about discrimination pertaining to gender and sexual orientation. The poll found that 63 percent of state voters think California women face discrimination at least sometimes, and 73 percent believe gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender face discrimination at least some of the time.