POLITICS
01/25/2016 04:19 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2016

Black Americans Are Half As Likely As Whites To Be Very Confident Their Water Is Safe

Race is "the single greatest determinant of what happened in Flint," one lawmaker said.
Flint resident Louis Singleton receives water filters, bottled water and a test kit from Michigan National Guard Specialist J
Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Flint resident Louis Singleton receives water filters, bottled water and a test kit from Michigan National Guard Specialist Joe Weaver on Jan. 21.

Americans nationwide are following the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But few are really worried about their own water, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey shows -- although there is a significant racial gap in that concern.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is also winning very few plaudits nationwide for his handling of the water crisis. Among Americans who've been following the story, just 15 percent approve of the job that he's done, while 58 percent disapprove.

Many think it's time for Snyder to resign, a step that Sen. Bernie Sanders and others have called for. Forty percent of those following the story agree that the governor should go; only 24 percent disagree.

Not enough data exist yet to say whether that sentiment is widely shared by Michigan residents, who rated Snyder highly as recently as last summer.

"He's probably glad he's not running for re-election," Bernie Porn, a Michigan-based pollster, told WLNS-TV. "All of the things that he feels he deserved credit for, people may forget all about that based on this one issue and based on how they react to it."

Regardless of its effect on Snyder's legacy, Flint's experience with toxic water appears to have boosted support nationwide for more water regulation. A 56 percent majority of Americans think government should do more to regulate the safety of the public water supply, up 9 points since the aftermath of the Toledo water crisis in 2014.

But nearly three-quarters of the populace still say they're somewhat or very confident that their own tap water is safe to drink -- a number little changed since the previous survey. Just 9 percent say they're not at all confident in their local water supply.

There's a major racial difference in the results: Black Americans are about half as likely as white Americans to say they're very confident in their local water and far more likely to think further regulation is needed. 

The crisis in Flint, whose population is largely black, struck many as a fresh example of environmental racism, which leaves African-Americans disproportionately relegated to neighborhoods affected by pollution.

Race is "the single greatest determinant of what happened in Flint," Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), who represents the area, told The New York Times.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 21-22 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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