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Poll Finds Obama Isn't Closing Divide on Race

Supporters reach out to shake hands with Barack Obama in Bristow, Virginia. Mandel Ngan, Getty Images hide caption

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Mandel Ngan, Getty Images

Later this week on News & Notes, we'll take a closer look at the recent New York Times/CBS News poll on race and this election cycle.

The Times' analysis begins:

"Americans are sharply divided by race heading into the first election in which an African-American will be a major-party presidential nominee, with blacks and whites holding vastly different views of Senator Barack Obama, the state of race relations and how black Americans are treated by society."

Among the findings:

— Nearly 60 percent of black respondents said race relations were generally bad, compared with 34 percent of whites. Four in 10 blacks say that there has been no progress in recent years in eliminating racial discrimination; fewer than 2 in 10 whites say the same thing.

— Black voters were far more likely than whites to say that Mr. Obama cares about the needs and problems of people like them, and more likely to describe him as patriotic. Whites were more likely than blacks to say that Mr. Obama says what he thinks people want to hear, rather than what he truly believes.

— Among black voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, Mr. Obama draws support from 89 percent, compared with 2 percent for Mr. McCain. Among whites, Mr. Obama has 37 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Mr. McCain.

And as political analyst James L. Taylor wrote for us in our Political Positions column:

"There is nothing novel about the responses in this poll as they relate to how different groups see race progress. Black Americans have been perennially skeptical of group to group relations, no matter how individual African Americans might excel in society."

What do you think of the poll and its findings? If you have a question you'd like us to consider on-air — or if you want to help us frame this conversation in a new way — leave us a comment.