LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEW10) – On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Siena College Research Institute released a new poll that looks at how New Yorkers view the state of race relations and whether they think that minorities have the same opportunities as white New Yorkers. The poll of registered New York State voters weighs in on how New Yorkers view the state of race relations as well as whether they think racial or religious minorities living in New York experience discrimination.
According to the Siena College poll a small majority of voters, 52 percent, think that minority New Yorkers have the same opportunities as white New Yorkers, while 41 percent think they do not. Differences in opinion vary as this question highlights the wide racial, partisan, and ideological divides officials say.
The poll highlights this majority or plurality from each region of the state whereas a majority of Republicans, independents, Latinos, whites, and men said that minority New Yorkers do have the same opportunities. With a majority of Democrats and an overwhelming majority of Blacks that say minority New Yorkers do not have the same opportunities.
Overall, New Yorkers’ views on the state of race relations, has improved marginally since last year, with 36 percent now saying race relations in New York are excellent or good, compared to 60 percent who say fair or poor, up a little from 31-64 percent last year. More than 70 percent of voters continue to say that both racial and religious minorities experience discrimination.
“The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers of every stripe think racial minorities experience discrimination in New York – including 92 percent of Blacks, 87 percent of Latinos, and 67 percent of whites; 84 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Republicans; and at least 63 percent from every region,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Similarly, at least 62 percent of voters, regardless of religion, race, party, or region, say that religious minorities experience discrimination.”
In addition, Greenberg says one-third of New Yorkers say that they’ve been treated unfairly over the last year because of their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, including 50 percent of Latinos and 41 percent of Blacks. This number he adds has remained largely consistent over the last five years.
“Dr. King would have turned 93 this weekend,” said Greenberg. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. New Yorkers say that struggle persists.”