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KCTS 9/Elway Poll Reveals Washington State Citizens’ Attitudes About Race, Justice and Democracy

Seattle – WEBWIRE

The results of the KCTS 9/Elway Poll—an exclusive, state-wide poll pertaining to racial attitudes, police and community relations, and views on the equality of our justice system—indicate that Washington state citizens are divided about race relations nationally, but believe that race relations are good in their own community.
Respondents were significantly more positive about race relations in their own community (86% said they were “Good”). Two and a half times as many people thought race relations were getting worse than better (45% v.18%). Most (56%) believe that whites and people of color are treated equally by the police in their community. About half (48%) said that whites and people of color are treated equally by the courts in Washington state. Thirty-one percent of those polled said police body cameras would be the most effective way to prevent police shooting of unarmed persons of color.
“One of the notable findings was that—by almost three to one—people said race relations were getting worse in the United States,” said Stuart Elway, President of Elway Research who conducted the poll, “but two thirds said a solution would eventually be worked out.”
“People want to be optimistic about race relations,” Elway continued, “and what most see in their own community is different from what they see on the national news.”
The KCTS 9/Elway Poll interviewed 400 randomly selected adults throughout Washington state, from September 1 -3, 2015, proportional by county, with a +/- 5% margin of error.
Some key results of the poll:

  • In your opinion, are race relations in the United States generally good or generally bad?

                         WA              National   CBS News Poll, Dec. 6–9, 2014. (N=1, 122)
    Good             43                45
    Bad               47                43
    No opinion    10                13
  • Do you think that race relations in your community are generally good or generally bad?

                               WA              National   CBS News Poll, Dec. 6–9, 2014. (N=1, 122)
           Good            86                78
           Bad              10                17
           No opinion     3                  5
  • Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?

                               WA              National   CBS News Poll, Dec. 6-9, 2014. (N=1,122)
           Better            18               22
           Worse           45               36
           Same            33               40
           No Opinion     4                 2
  • In your opinion, have race relations in the United States gotten better, gotten worse or stayed the same since Barack Obama became president?

                               WA              National   CNN/ORC, Feb. 15, 2015. (N=1,027)
           Better            19                15
           Worse           46                39
           Same            29                45
           No Opinion     6                  1
  • Do you think that relations between whites and people of color will always be a problem? Or will a solution eventually be worked out?

                                                       WA              National   CNN/ORC Poll, Dec. 18-21, 2014 (N=1,011)
            Always a problem               28                46
            Eventual solution                63                52
            No Opinion                           9                  2
  • As you know, there have been a number of incidents recently which ended up with a white police officer shooting an unarmed non-white person. Which of the following do you think would do the most to prevent these incidents:
    Requiring all police officers to wear body cameras          31
    Better training of police officers                                        15
    Having more people of color on the police force              12
    More police presence in high-crime neighborhoods         10
    No opinion                                                                          9
    (not read, but people chose “All of the Above”)                23

Detailed results of the KCTS 9/Elway Poll are available at
The poll results will be discussed at “Race, Justice and Democracy,” a special KCTS 9 town hall event presented in partnership with The Center for a New Washington at Heritage University and Humanities Washington, on September 10, 2015 at the Yakima Valley Museum. The panel will include Mark O’Mara, CNN legal analyst and the attorney who successfully defended George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; Dr. Christopher Parker, University of Washington Associate Professor of Political Science; Sue Rahr, Executive Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and a member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing; and Mirta Laura Contreras, Directing Attorney for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Eastern Washington Office. Enrique Cerna, KCTS 9’s Director of Community Partnerships, moderates the town hall event.
The discussion will be live-streamed on The program will air on KCTS 9 and KCTS 9 Yakima on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 pm. The program will be available online at beginning Wednesday, September 16, 2015.
To interview pollster Stuart Elway about the results of the KCTS 9/Elway Poll, contact Hilda Cullen at or 206.443.6791.
For more information about Race, Justice and Democracy and other KCTS 9 programs and initiatives, visit
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About KCTS 9
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