Though they're richer and vastly more culturally established than their minority counterparts, America's white Republicans fear the future in the United States far more than anyone else in the nation today, according to a new Washington Post-Kaiser-Harvard poll.
Asked if, "when your children are your age now," the standard of living will be better, the same, or worse, a full 60 percent of blacks said better, and only 18 percent said worse. Conversely, and more than a little bit surprisingly, almost a third of white respondents—31 percent—said they believe the future will be worse for their children. Only 36 percent percent of whites have a rosy outlook of the future.
While this disparity is fascinating, especially considering that American whites have fared tremendously better than American blacks for literally hundreds of years now, what's actually more interesting is the political divide of whites who believe the United States' future is bleak. By more than a two to one margin, white Republicans were more likely than white Democrats to say the future will be worse than it is now.
This data suggests a couple glaring things. First, the partisan split of whites who fear the future points to the fact that Republicans are particularly upset with Barack Obama's "Obamacare" and "imprudent spending"—but that's obvious to anyone who's listened to five minutes of a Tea Party rally. What's more subtle is that the racial imbalance between whites and blacks who are confident about America's tomorrow—and Latinos, who are also more optimistic about the future than whites—speaks to a fear whites of all political stripes are having about a changing America.
According to many statisticians, America will be a "majority minority" country by the year 2050, meaning that whites will no longer be the numerically dominant population. My guess is that this reality is a major factor behind the racial distribution of this poll. Despite having a rough go of it for decades, brown people are really excited for the future. Whites? Well, not so much.