MLK Day 2019: Only 35% of New Yorkers Say Race Relations in the State are Excellent or Good

mlk statue
  • MLK Day 2019: Only 35% of New Yorkers Say Race Relations in the State are Excellent (5%) or Good (30%);

    In 2013, 54% Had Positive Views of Race Relations in NY

  • Two-Thirds Say Minorities Experience Racial/Ethnic Discrimination; Nearly One-Third Says They’ve Been Treated Unfairly in Last Year Because of Their Race, Ethnicity, Gender or Sexual Orientation

  • Workplace Sexual Harassment is Significant Problem: 70%; One-Third of NYers – 45% of Women – Say They’ve Been Victim of Harassment

Press Release      Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. Thirty-five percent of New Yorkers think race relations in the state are excellent (five percent) or good (30 percent) – compared to 62 percent who say they are fair (43 percent) or poor (19 percent), down from last year’s Siena College poll, when 39 percent viewed race relations positively and 58 percent negatively, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released today. In 2013, a majority of New Yorkers, 54 percent, had a positive view of race relations in the state.

Unchanged from last year, 68 percent of New Yorkers say ethnic and racial minorities experience discrimination, and virtually unchanged from last year, 30 percent say that in the last year, they’ve been treated unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Although down a little from last year, 70 percent of New Yorkers say sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant problem (25 percent say ‘very’ significant) compared to only 25 percent who say it’s not a very significant problem or not at all a significant problem. Nearly one-third of all voters – including 45 percent of women – say they have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment.

“As we approach the holiday to remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., only 35 percent of white New Yorkers and 30 percent of black New Yorkers think race relations in the state are either excellent or good. That’s quite a change from just six years ago when 55 percent of whites and 46 percent of blacks thought race relations in the state were positive,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Only 30 percent of Democrats think race relations are positive, compared to 42 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independents.”

“More than two-thirds of New Yorkers continue to believe that racial and ethnic minorities in the state experience discrimination because of their race or ethnicity,” Greenberg said. “Eighty-three percent of blacks, 65 percent of Latinos and 64 percent of whites say that minorities face discrimination. The only demographic group that disagrees and thinks minorities do not experience discrimination is conservatives by a 49-43 percent margin.

“Three in ten New Yorkers – including nearly half of black New Yorkers and more than one-third of Latino New Yorkers say they have personally been treated unfairly in the last year because of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” Greenberg said. “That goes a long way to explaining why so many New Yorkers have a negative view about race relations in the state.”

Sexual Harassment in Workplace Remains a Significant Problem
“Nearly three-quarters of women and nearly two-thirds of men agree that sexual harassment in the workplace in New York is a significant problem. At least 60 percent of Republicans and independents, and 79 percent of Democrats think it’s a significant problem. At least two-thirds of voters from every region of the state think it’s a significant problem,” Greenberg said. “The cliché says that recognizing the problem is half the battle. Well, we won the first half of the battle but clearly there’s much work to be done on the second half – solving the problem.

One-Third of New Yorkers – 45 Percent of Women – Have Been Victim of Sexual Harassment
“Why do more than two-thirds of New Yorkers think sexual harassment is a significant problem? Maybe it’s because nearly one-third of all New Yorkers and almost half of all female New Yorkers say that they have been a victim of sexual harassment,” Greenberg said. “A little more than a quarter of downstaters say they’ve been victimized by sexual harassment, compared to 40 percent of upstaters.”

Trump Viewed Unfavorably by 64 Percent; Worst Rating Since April
“New Yorkers give Donald Trump his worst favorability rating, negative 32-64 percent, since last April. He is viewed unfavorably by 85 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents. Republicans still view the President favorably, 68-29 percent, although down from 76-22 percent in November,” Greenberg said.

As She Kicks Off Presidential Bid, Gillibrand Liked – Not Loved – By New Yorkers
“Kirsten Gillibrand, fresh off her third big Senate win and beginning a presidential campaign, has a 48-31 percent favorability rating. One in five voters still doesn’t know enough about her to have an opinion,” Greenberg said. “She’s only viewed favorably by 61 percent of Democrats. By comparison, Andrew Cuomo is viewed favorably by 68 percent of Democrats, and Chuck Schumer by 74 percent.”
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This Siena College Poll was conducted January 6-10, 2019 by telephone calls conducted in English to 805 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from ASDE Survey Sampler) from within New York State. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party by region, and gender to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Steve Greenberg at (518) 469-9858. For survey cross-tabs: