Barack Obama

U.S. poll: fewer see Obama advancing racial ties

President Obama makes a statement at the White House, January 15, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fewer Americans believe the presidency of Barack Obama, the first African American elected to the White House, has helped advance race relations compared with a year ago, a Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests.

The poll, published on the U.S. holiday commemorating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., found 41 percent now say Obama’s presidency has helped race relations, compared with 58 percent on the eve of Obama’s inauguration a year ago who said his presidency would help race relations.

The decline was the sharpest among African Americans, with 51 percent now saying Obama has helped advance race relations, compared with 75 percent who, last January, said they expected Obama’s presidency to help.

The poll was conducted by telephone from January 12 to 15 among a random sample of 1,083 adults, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. For the 153 African Americans polled, the margin of error was 8 percentage points.

Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Todd Eastham