Washington– Blacks are significantly more optimistic about what the future holds for them and the economy, according to a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University poll conducted Jan. 27 – Feb.9. There was also a significant divide in how whites and blacks rated President Obama’s economic policies, with whites taking a far dimmer view than blacks.
Blacks in the survey reported feeling less stress from the economic situation than whites or Hispanics. Fifty-six percent said the current economic situation has not been a cause of stress for them while 56 percent of whites and 58 percent of Hispanics says it has.
There are similarities among all three groups in some of the ways they coped with the recession. A plurality of whites, blacks and Hispanics described the changes they made in their lifestyles as minor, while the percentage of each group saying the changes had been major ranged from 26 percent to 29 percent. Around two-thirds of each group minimized use of utilities like heating and electricity. A little over a third of each postponed medical or dental care. About a fifth said they put off retirement. Roughly 7 out of 10 or more had cut back on vacations, dining out and entertainment. About 4 in 10 took extra jobs or worked extra hours.
Whites had a distinctly more negative view of President Obama’s economic program than blacks or Hispanics. Eighteen percent of whites said Obama’s policies had improved the economy, 36 percent said they had made it worse, 39 percent said they had no effect and 6 percent offered no opinion.