At the risk of injecting facts into the Reid dust-up: "Despite being hit especially hard by the bad economy, job losses and the high rate of foreclosures, African Americans' assessment of race relations and prospects for the future has surged more dramatically during the past two years than at any time in the past quarter-century, according to a new [Pew] poll." Here's the complete report.
This surge in black optimism was all to be expected. What the poll also confirmed is that most whites and Hispanics (if one takes this group separately) don't regard Obama simply as black, not that this particularly helps the embattled Majority Leader:
The study also found that Americans tend to construct their own view of the president's race based on their backgrounds. In response to a question about Obama's racial identity, 55 percent of black respondents said Obama is black, while about a third said he is mixed race. Among whites, the pattern reversed. Fifty-three percent said he is mixed race, while just a quarter said he is black. Hispanics were even more inclined than whites to see him as mixed race; 61 percent identified him that way.