MLK Day 2022: 52% of Voters Say Minority New Yorkers Have Same Opportunities to Succeed as White New Yorkers

  • MLK Day 2022: 52% of Voters Say Minority New Yorkers Have Same Opportunities to Succeed as White New Yorkers, 41% Disagree; Wide Differences By Race, Party, Gender; Little By Region, Age
  • Little Change In a Year On NYers’ Overall View on Race Relations; More Than 2/3 Continue To Believe that Racial & Religious Minorities Experience Discrimination

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. As we approach Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2022, 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. Although a majority of Democrats and an overwhelming majority of Blacks say minority New Yorkers do not have the same opportunities, a majority of Republicans, independents, Latinos, whites and men, as well as a majority or plurality from each region of the state say that minority New Yorkers do have the same opportunities, according to a new poll of registered New York State voters, released today.

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.

“While it’s correct to say a small majority of voters think that minority New Yorkers have the same opportunities as white New Yorkers, it is also correct that this question highlights the wide racial, partisan and ideological divides that exist,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “More than two-thirds of Blacks say that minorities don’t have the same opportunities as whites, yet majorities of whites and Latinos say they do.

“More than two-thirds of Republicans and a majority of independents say there are the same opportunities, while a majority of Democrats say there are not. Sixty percent of self-identified liberals don’t think there are equal opportunities, but 69 percent of conservatives think there are,” Greenberg said. “By a wide margin, men think there are the same opportunities to succeed, while women are evenly divided. Interestingly, there is virtually no difference in the view among younger, middle-aged, and older New Yorkers.”

Thirty-six percent of New Yorkers think race relations in the state are excellent (eight percent) or good (28 percent) – compared to 60 percent who say they are fair (41 percent) or poor (19 percent), up from 31-64 percent last year. It is the ‘best’ it’s been since MLK day 2018. Between 2008 and 2014, at least 47 percent of New Yorkers thought race relations were positive. Since then, 39 percent in 2018 is the high-water mark.

“Today, 37 percent of Black voters view race relations in the state positively, that’s up from 27 percent last year. Latinos jumped from 27 percent last year to 41 percent today, as whites edged up to 36 percent, from 33 percent,” Greenberg said. “Just under a third of Republicans, independents, upstaters, and downstate suburbanites say race relations are positive, while 41 percent of both Democrats and those in the Big Apple say race relations are positive. Men, 47-52 percent, are much more upbeat about race relations than women, 27-67 percent.”

Seventy-two percent of voters say minorities – including African Americans, Hispanics and Asians – who live in New York experience racial discrimination, compared to 19 percent who say they don’t, little changed from 70-22 percent on MLK Day last year. By a similar 71-20 percent margin, voters say religious minorities – including Jews, Muslims and others – who live in New York experience discrimination based on their religious affiliation, compared to 69-22 percent last year.

“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,” Greenberg said. “Similarly, at least 62 percent of voters, regardless of religion, race, party, or region, say that religious minorities experience discrimination.

“About 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 has remained largely consistent over the last five years,” Greenberg said. “Dr. King would have turned 93 this weekend. He said, ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.’ New Yorkers say that struggle persists.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted January 9-13, 2022 among 806 New York State registered voters with 406 voters contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 400 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel (Lucid) of New Yorkers. Telephone calls were conducted in English and respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (ASDE) and cell phone (Dynata) telephone numbers within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from both collection modes (phone and web) was merged and statistically adjusted by age, party by region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. 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 crosstabs: