Four in ten Americans say relations between blacks and whites have gotten worse under the Obama administration, according to a new CNN/ORC.
Forty-five percent surveyed said race relations remain the same under Obama, while only 15 percent said they have improved.
On Saturday, President Obama made a speech at a commemorative ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, known as the "Bloody Sunday.”
"We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation's racial history still casts its long shadow upon us," Obama told thousands of people from across the country who packed the town of Selma, Alabama, for commemorations of the march 50 years ago.
"We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character - requires admitting as much," he said, speaking in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the riverside town.
Police attacked the civil rights protesters with tear gas and clobbers at the foot of the bridge on March 7, 1965, a turning point in the civil rights movement that paved the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act five months later.
The CNN/ORC poll indicates that overall 51 percent of Americans believe the Voting Rights Act remains necessary to ensure that blacks are allowed to vote.
While 76 percent of blacks said the law was necessary in present day to make sure that blacks are able to vote. Just 48 percent of whites expressed the same view.
African Americans also have a deep distrust of the justice system in the US.
Three-quarters of the African Americans believe the US justice system favors whites over blacks, according to the poll.
According to a study by the Sentencing Project research group, one in three black males is likely to be sentenced to prison sometime during their life. The figure for white men is only one in 17.