A new poll by Rasmussen asks the question: has Obama widened the racial divide?  And 47% believe that he has.  Rasmussen reports:

Americans hoped the election of the first black president in 2008 would help heal the racial division that has plagued this country for much of its history, but nearly half of voters think just the opposite has occurred.

Only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe President Obama has brought Americans of different races closer together, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty-seven percent (47%) think Obama has driven those of different races further apart instead. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say his words and actions have had no major impact either way . . . .

Forty-four percent (44%) of black voters feel the president has brought us closer together, but just 16% of whites and 21% of other minority voters agree. Most whites (54%) believe Obama has driven the races further apart, a view shared by only 21% of blacks and 38% of other minority voters.

Since his the “police acted stupidly” response to the 2009 arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Obama’s comments have raised doubts among police officers about his role in “making it harder for police to work with people of color.”

Indeed, in April of this year, Ted Cruz also discussed Obama’s role in America’s inflamed racial tensions.  Watch:

Cruz addresses the way that much of the vilification is directed at police officers and says that Obama has “inflamed racial tensions” and “divided us rather than bringing us together.”

Rasmussen continues:

Perhaps the most visible manifestation of racial division these days is the growing tension between the police and black Americans, especially those in the inner city. Following the recent murders of police officers in Texas and Illinois, 58% of voters think there is a war on police in America today.

Some have criticized the president for his comments about the police following incidents involving white police officers and black suspects. Sixty percent (60%) of voters believe comments critical of the police by some politicians make it more dangerous for police officers to do their jobs.

Obama stated in December of last year that he believes he’s improved race relations and that the situation between law enforcement and their communities “probably is healthy” (this with a direct reference to Ferguson).  From an NPR interview:

Is the United States more racially divided than it was when you took office six years ago, Mr. President?

No, I actually think that it’s probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided. But I actually think that the issue has surfaced in a way that probably is healthy.

I mean, the issue of police and communities of color being mistrustful of each other is hardly new; that dates back a long time. It’s just something that hasn’t been talked about — and for a variety of reasons.

In some cases, something as simple as the fact that everybody has cellphones now so that you can record some of these events, you know, it’s gotten a lot of attention; I think that’s good. I think it then points to our ability to solve these problems.

It’s understandable the polls might say, you know, that race relations have gotten worse — because when it’s in the news and you see something like Ferguson or the Garner case in New York, then it attracts attention. But I assure you, from the perspective of African-Americans or Latinos in poor communities who have been dealing with this all their lives, they wouldn’t suggest somehow that it’s worse now than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

While as Cruz notes Obama could have been a unifying figure for race relations in America and Obama apparently thinks he has been, it seems that a large percentage of Americans believe he’s had the opposite effect.


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