With Advent of Bush Administration, Blacks Have Become More Negative About All Three Branches of Government

Blacks give President Bush much lower ratings than do whites, are less satisfied overall, and rate Congress and the Supreme Court more negatively than they did last year

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The data presented below highlight significant changes that have taken place in the relationship between whites' and blacks' ratings of several important institutions over the last year. Blacks were roughly equal with whites in their ratings of Congress and the Supreme Court last fall. Blacks are now significantly more negative about both institutions. Blacks and whites were at comparable levels last fall in terms of satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States. This year, black satisfaction is substantially lower. Finally, presidential job approval among blacks was much higher than among whites last year (while Clinton was in office), but is much lower this year (concomitant with the change to at Republican president).

Presidential job approval dropped significantly among blacks as a Republican took over the White House in January, perhaps not surprising given the strong Democratic orientation among blacks. Blacks' presidential job approval last fall was much higher that whites'; it is now much lower.

Approval of Way Bill Clinton is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling his job as president?"
Approval of Way George W. Bush is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

There is apparently a filter through which Americans view the world that extends beyond the explicitly partisan office of the presidency. Black Americans have shifted to more negative ratings of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court since George W. Bush took office. Last fall, blacks and whites were quite similar in their ratings of both institutions.

Approval of Way Congress is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?"
Approval of Way Congress is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?"
Approval of Way Supreme Court is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?"
Approval of Way Supreme Court is Handling Job
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?"

The change in black perceptions in relation to white perceptions does not pertain only to the three branches of government. With a Republican in the White House, blacks have shifted down their overall general perception of how things are going in the country.

Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction With Way Things Going in the Nation
"In general are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?"
Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction With Way Things Going in the Nation
"In general are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?"

In summary, it appears that the party of the White House may form a perceptual filter through which much else is viewed. With the change from a Democratic to Republican president, black Americans have become much more negative about the general way things are going in the United States, as well as about Congress, the president and the Supreme Court.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with randomly selected national samples of at least 1,000 adults, 18 years and older, conducted in 2000 and 2001. In all instances, several surveys have been combined to form larger sub-samples of whites and blacks. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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