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Race Relations In California Better Than Rest Of U.S.? Voters Say 'Yes' In New Poll

LOS ANGELES ( — An overwhelming majority of California voters believe race relations in the state are better than elsewhere in America even as they acknowledge persistent tensions, according to the results of a poll released Monday.

KNX 1070's Bob Brill reports nearly two-thirds of those surveyed in the USC-Dornsief poll think race relations in California are stable or improving.

Nearly three-quarters of voters say race relations are excellent or good in their neighborhoods, and less than 25 percent believe relations are getting worse, according to the Los Angeles Times.

However, barely a quarter of all voters say they feel race relations across the U.S. are excellent or good, The Times reported.

Residents remained split over whether they believed race relations were improving, with only 22 percent say they think relations are deteriorating.

The poll - which was conducted in the wake of a string of fatal police shootings of black men in South Carolina, Missouri and other states - found 43 percent of California voters think police generally are tougher on blacks than on any other group, up from 33 percent in September.

The survey was taken between March 28 and April 7, so only a small percentage of the those polled could have been aware of the April 4 death of an unarmed black man who was shot by a South Carolina police officer, according to pollsters.

"There is significant generational optimism about how California and the country have progressed on racial issues," said Republican pollster David Kanevsky. "For younger voters under 30 or under 45, the current tension over race relations seem like a significant improvement over what they read about in history books,"

Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Urban Policy Roundtable said he thinkss the findings more or less reflect prevailing concerns among communities of color.

"The reality is that discrimination still exists, there's no question about that," said Hutchinson. "There's substantial disparities in many areas."

California's population is 39 percent white, 38 percent Latino, 14 percent Asian, 7 percent black and 2 percent Native American, with some overlap, according to the latest U.S. census figures cited by The Times.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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