- The Washington Times - Friday, December 19, 2014

The percentage of Americans who say race relations/racism is the most important problem facing the country is at its highest point since 1992 amid the Rodney King verdict, Gallup said.

Thirteen percent say racism/race relations is the most important problem in a new poll, compared to 15 percent in 1992 and 1 percent in November.

Prior to this month and spring 1992, the last time the issue was a significant “top-of-mind” issue for Americans was in the 1950s and 1960s during the national civil rights movement, wrote Gallup’s Justin McCarthy; in 1963, 52 percent said race relations was the country’s biggest problem.

The new numbers come on the heels of a wave of protests across the country over the deaths of black men in incidents involving white police officers in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island, prompting President Obama and other public officials to call for recommendations on how to strengthen ties between law enforcement and the public.

Twenty-two percent of nonwhites see race relations/race as the most important problem facing the country, compared to 9 percent of whites.

Since 1992, the overall percentage seeing race relations/race as the most important problem ranged from 0 percent to 5 percent, but it is now ahead of unemployment (8 percent), matches the economy, and is slightly behind government (15 percent).

Results for the poll are based on interviews of 805 adults conducted on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey from Dec. 8-11, and the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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