Gallup polls Americans on race relations, views of the police, and the criminal justice system

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff officer Eddie Guidry is hugged by a teary Terri Carney, both members of The Rock Church which is a ministry on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, during a prayer vigil for the officers killed and wounded by a gunman on Sunday as well as members of the local law enforcement community in Zachary, La., Monday, July 18, 2016. About 100 people came to the special hour long prayer vigil. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff officer Eddie Guidry is hugged by a teary Terri Carney, both members of The Rock Church which is a ministry on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, during a prayer vigil for the officers killed and wounded by a gunman on Sunday as well as members of the local law enforcement community in Zachary, La., Monday, July 18, 2016. About 100 people came to the special hour long prayer vigil. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.

    President Barack Obama said in Dallas last Tuesday that the recent violence makes Americans wonder “if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged,” but he urged them to “reject such despair.”

    Seemingly in agreement, Americans retain a perhaps surprisingly optimistic view of race relations — in data collected for three years straight.

    That doesn’t mean, however, that Americans aren’t negative about the current situation. The percentage who rate race relations as good dropped last year, and an update shows that positive views are still well below where they have been.

    Plus, long term trend data show that whites and blacks have consistently different views of the police, and the criminal justice system. Whites and blacks essentially see two different worlds.

    How many blacks report having had a negative encounter with police in the last month? The current number is 16 percent, about where it has been.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.