AREA RACE RELATIONS GET LOWER RATINGS BY BLACKS THIS YEAR Series: POST-DISPATCH SHOW-ME POLL PUBLIC POLICY Six of Seven in a Series Sidebar Story

Article excerpt

African-Americans are somewhat more pessimistic about race relations in the St. Louis area, including the five counties of the Metro East area, than they were a year ago. Whites' perspective has changed little.

That's one of the findings of this year's Show-Me Poll.

While the poll showed 9 percent of blacks across the metro area viewed race relations as excellent - the same as in a poll a year ago - those regarding relations as good dropped significantly. This year, 17 percent of blacks said relations between the races were good, down from 31 percent in 1995.

Meanwhile, the percentage of blacks assigning fair and poor grades to race relations rose. Forty-seven percent this year said relations were fair; 27 percent said they were poor. That was up from 40 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Among whites in the metro area, the figures didn't differ much from year to year. This year, 7 percent of whites who answered the question viewed race relations as excellent, 30 percent as good, 42 percent as fair and 21 percent as poor. The results a year ago: 7 percent excellent, 34 percent good, 41 percent fair and 18 percent poor.

Interviewers in both 1995 and 1996 asked whether relations among racial and ethnic groups had become better or worse or stayed the same during the last five years. …