Gallup is reporting that black Americans, particularly blacks who identify as Democrats are the most satisfied demographic group with the direction of the country. 51% of black Democrats reported being satisfied with the direction of the country. By contrast, only 38% of white Democrats reported being satisfied with the direction of the country. The question is why are black Democrats so optimistic, in contrast with whites and Republicans?
Princeton political scientist Melissa Harris-Lacewell points out that there has long been a racial divide in the public opinion of blacks and whites. This divide track a racial divide in partisan identification. For example, the Gallup poll found that more than 8 out of 10 blacks identified with the Democratic Party. But as Lydia Saad from Gallup reported, the differing perception of the direction of the country is not colored only partisan lens but also by race. So what accounts for this?
There is very little doubt that black Americans have been hit the hardest by the recession (see for example this article). I suppose the optimism of African Americans reflect both their support of President Obama and the hope that his policies will have a disproportionately positive impact on the lives of black americans.