Poll: Race relations plummet, sexual harassment persistent – Times Union

COLONIE – Thirty-five percent of New Yorkers say race relations are excellent or good, a dramatic plunge from 6 years ago when a majority felt that way, a new Siena Research Institute poll found.

The poll, released just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, found just 5 percent thought relations between whites and minorities were excellent. Another 30 percent said they were good while 43 percent thought they were fair and 19 person said poor, the poll found.

“That’s quite a change from just 6 years ago when 55 percent of whites and 46 percent of blacks thought race relations in the state were positive,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “Only 30 percent of Democrats think race relations are positive, compared to 42 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independents.”

The poll found 68 percent of New Yorkers say ethnic and racial minorities experience discrimination. The number is almost unchanged from last year.

“Eighty-three percent of blacks, 65 percent of Latinos and 64 percent of whites say that minorities face discrimination. The only demographic group that disagrees and thinks minorities do not experience discrimination is conservatives by a 49-43 percent margin,” Greenberg said in a statement released with the poll.

“Three in ten New Yorkers – including nearly half of black New Yorkers and more than one-third of Latino New Yorkers – say they have personally been treated unfairly in the last year because of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” Greenberg said. “That goes a long way to explaining why so many New Yorkers have a negative view about race relations in the state.”

The poll of registered voters was conducted between Jan. 6-10.

It also dug into how New Yorkers feel about sexual harassment in the workplace, finding  70 percent said it is a significant problem (25 percent say “very” significant) compared to only 25 percent who say it’s not a very significant problem or not at all a significant problem. The number is slightly down since last year and comes in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which shone a harsh light on workplace sexual harassment among some of America’s best known corporate and political leaders.

Nearly one-third of all voters – including 45 percent of women – say they have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment.

“Nearly three-quarters of women and nearly two-thirds of men agree that sexual harassment in the workplace in New York is a significant problem. At least 60 percent of Republicans and independents, and 79 percent of Democrats think it’s a significant problem. At least two-thirds of voters from every region of the state think it’s a significant problem,” Greenberg said.

The poll also includes data on U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won re-election in November and on Tuesday announced she was running for president. She has a 48-31 approval rating, which lags behind the approval ratings of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, 74 percent, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 68 percent. The poll was conducted before she announced her presidential bid.

President Donald Trump received his lowest approval rating since April with just 32 percent approving of the job he is doing. Sixty-four percent disapprove.

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