Race relations in the Garden State were rated good to excellent by 78 percent of those polled in the Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll about a week ago, with 26 percent of respondents saying they were excellent.
Interestingly, non-Hispanic white respondents were more likely than those of other racial backgrounds to give race relations an excellent rating -- 31 percent to 17 percent for all other races -- but 52 percent of all respondents said they were good. Also, the older someone was, the more likely he or she was to rate race relations as good to excellent.
Although about half of respondents said the amount of racial and ethnic diversity in New Jersey was good for the state's quality of life, while 32 percent said it had no impact, and those over 55 were somewhat less enthusiastic. Among older New Jerseyans, only 43 percent said it was good for the state while 34 percent said it had no impact and 9 percent said it was bad.
Whether Barack Obama's presidency has been good or bad for race relations in this country seems to fall along party lines. Among Democrats, 54 percent said it has helped and only 9 percent said it has hurt; only 29 percent of independents say it has helped, while 53 percent said it has made no difference. As for Republicans, 30 percent said it has hurt, 45 percent said it has made no difference, and 17 percent said it has hurt.