Most New Jersey adults embrace the state's racial and ethnic diversity, but at the same time acknowledge that we are far from becoming a racially equitable society, according to the latest poll out of Monmouth University.

The poll, released in advance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, surveyed more than 800 adults in early January, and found that hopefulness related to equality has dwindled significantly over the past decade.

About a quarter of respondents said they feel Black and white people are treated equally. That's down from 42% when the question was asked by Monmouth in 2012.

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In the latest poll, 27% said they believe they will see racial equality in their lifetime, and 43% said they believe they won't.

A sizeable increase in pessimism was registered over time among Hispanic, Asian and white residents. Black residents have essentially the same views on the topic today (16% perceive equality) as they had a decade ago (16%).

Twenty-six percent of poll respondents said they think racial and ethnic discrimination is a "big problem" in New Jersey. A third said it's not a problem at all.

The poll recorded a clear partisan divide among white New Jersey residents. While 15% of white Democrats say the races are treated equally today, and 44% expect to see equality in their lifetime, 48% of Republicans say equality already exists.

"White Democrats, when you look at their opinions on these issues, they are much closer to the opinions of Black New Jersyeans and Hispanic and Asian New Jerseyans, than they are to other white New Jerseyans who call themselves Republicans," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told New Jersey 101.5.

In the poll, most New Jersey adults rated race relations in the area where they live as "good" or "excellent."

NJ views on diversity and immigration

Men having discussion

Just under six in 10 poll respondents said the amount of racial and ethnic diversity in New Jersey is good for the state's quality of life. Fourteen percent said it's bad for the state, and 20% said diversity has no impact.

Support for New Jersey's diversity appears to dwindle with age. Seven in 10 adults under 35 years old see the state's diversity as good for the state's quality of life, compared to just over half of those aged 35 and older.

Immigration in New Jersey has been good for the state, according to 44% of respondents. Seventeen percent of white Republicans have that view, compared to 66% of white Democrats.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said immigration into New Jersey has been bad for the state.

Views toward immigration appear to become more pessimistic with age as well.

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