US congress building
Americans are divided along racial lines but agree that the United States is on the wrong track and the economy is the top priority, according to an opinion poll conducted by USA Today, ABC News and Columbia University released yesterday.
Eighty percent of blacks and Hispanics and 76 percent of whites surveyed said the economy should be the next president's highest priority.
Seventy-eight percent of all respondents said the country was on the wrong track. Broken down along racial lines, 77 percent of whites held that view, 91 percent of blacks and 74 percent of Hispanics.
However, the survey finds a sharp racial divide over who the next president will be.
Seven in 10 blacks expect Barack Obama, the first African American to be nominated for president by a major party, to defeat Senator John McCain in the Nov 4 election, the poll found.
Among registered voters, blacks support Democratic presidential nominee Obama by 92 percent to 4 percent. Hispanics back the Illinois senator by 57 percent to 33 percent.
Whites support Republican nominee McCain by 56 percent to 36 percent, the poll found.
Among the 13 percent of blacks who predict McCain will prevail, racism was the reason most often cited.
The 50 percent of whites who expect the Arizona senator to win were more likely to cite the candidates' levels of experience as the reason. Only 5 percent of whites who say McCain will win say racism is the key factor.
The telephone survey was conducted between September 11-14, just before news hit of the scale of the economic crisis that has prompted the Bush administration to propose a massive bailout plan for Wall Street.
The poll's margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.