Gallup conducted a one-night poll on Nov. 5 of last year, the day after Obama’s electoral victory over John McCain. The percentage of Americans giving the positive alternative to the race-relations question in that survey jumped to 67%.
Now, about a year after Obama’s election, optimism that a solution to the country’s race problem will eventually be worked out has settled back down to 56%. This certainly remains higher than in a number of previous years, particularly at points in the 1990s. But the current reading is not significantly improved from the sentiment that prevailed in more recent years prior to Obama’s election.