A new poll about race in America shows many people are unsure about President Barack Obama's effectiveness with regard to the issue.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll finds three out of four believe race relations have worsened, not improved, since Obama took office.

"It's not clear where he stands on these issues," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "Maybe he has or hasn't provided leadership."

The national poll is the first conducted by Al Jazeera America in conjunction with Monmouth University. It also shows that by an almost 3-to-1 margin, Americans are more likely to say race relations are worse, rather than better, under Obama.

"We found that 39 percent say he struck the right tone on race relations, but the remainder are divided," Murray said.

And there were divergent opinions between blacks and whites in this poll about the value of integrated neighborhoods. Murray said among blacks in the survey, "59 percent say more integration is necessary, versus 28 percent of whites who feel the same."

Just over half who were polled said they felt comfortable discussing race in public. That includes 52 percent of whites, 53 percent of blacks and 52 percent of Latinos. The pollsters believe it is also important to note that only 13 percent of whites say most of their friends are a mix of various races. On the other hand, nearly four in 10 (41 percent) blacks and most (56 percent) Latinos report that their circles of friends contain a number of races. According to the poll's authors, this might suggest whites are less likely to find themselves in scenarios where the conversation, if it comes around to race, would be conducted in company with more than one race present.

The Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University Poll was conducted by phone from Jan. 13-15 with just over 1,000 U.S. adults and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. For more information, go to america.aljazeera.com or www.monmouth.edu/polling.

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