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Poll: Americans Pessimistic about Race

Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Philando Castile gather in front of the police department in St Anthony, Minnesota, July 10, 2016.

A majority of Americans have grown pessimistic about race relation in the U.S.

According to a new Washington Post - ABC News poll, 63 percent of Americans think the country's race relations are in bad shape, a jump from 48 percent earlier in the year in another poll. Among African Americans, 72 percent are pessimistic about race relations.

The increased hopelessness can be attributed largely to the most recent string of killings of black men at the hands of police officers and the shooting of police officers by a black man in Dallas, Texas.

Political impact

The racial polarization Americans are feeling might work to presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's advantage. The poll says 58 percent of Americans trust Clinton to handle race relations.

Only 26 percent think Clinton's Republican opponent Donald Trump is capable of doing the same, despite his comment that he is "the least racist person you have ever met."

The polled people also offered suggestions for improving race relations, including the need for broader conversations about race, criminal justice reforms and stronger direction from political leaders.

Similarly, U.S. President Barack Obama said in his weekly address Saturday that America must begin to have candid discussions about race.

"We have to be able to talk about these things, honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of out own circles, but with folks who look differently and think differently than we do... Not just finding policies that work, but forging consensus, fighting cynicism, and finding the political will to keep changing this country for the better."