A new poll shows that a majority of voters believe that American society is racist and that black and Hispanic Americans face discrimination — but a separate poll finds that most oppose defunding the police.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of 900 registered voters, conducted from July 9 to 12, found that 56 percent said that they think American society is racist.
This is essentially unchanged from 1988, when an Associated Press poll found that 56 percent believed the U.S. is a racist society.
Meanwhile, a separate Washington Post/ABC News poll found that although 63 percent of adults polled support the Black Lives Matter movement, a 55 percent majority oppose defunding police departments to fund social services.
The Post/ABC poll of 1,006 adults was conducted from July 12 to July 15.
The Journal/NBC poll found that there has been a sharp increase in the number of people who believe that race relations in the country are either very or fairly bad.
Just 26 percent now say that race relations are good, down from more than seven in 10 who said the same in several surveys throughout then-President Barack Obama’s first term.
Seven in 10 now say that race relations are bad, including majorities of Democrats (86 percent) and Republicans (58 percent).
It comes following weeks of protests over racial inequality after the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The poll finds that increasing numbers of voters support the Black Lives Mater movement, as well as the practice of kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Fifty-seven percent of voters said they support the nationwide protests sparked by Floyd’s killing while 32 percent oppose them, and 58 percent said they are more concerned with racial inequality as a result of the demonstrations.
A slim majority of voters, 52 percent, now say it is appropriate for athletes to kneel during the anthem to protest racial inequality, up from 43 percent in 2018.
In the new survey, 45 percent said kneeling during the anthem was inappropriate.
‘Americans are concerned about issues of inequality, and George Floyd’s death helped contribute to that,’ pollster Brenda Lee told the Journal.
‘We’ve moved the needle a great deal in terms of just clearly identifying that we, as Americans, have an issue with racism in this society.’
In 2008, just 28 percent of voters said that black Americans are discriminated against, while 51 percent said they are treated fairly and 16 percent said they receive too many special advantages.
However, in this latest poll, the share who say black people experience discrimination has jumped to 59 percent, with just 27 percent saying they are treated fairly and 10 percent saying they receive special advantages.
The new poll also indicates that support for the removal of Confederate statues is growing, although most do not support the extreme step of destroying the monuments.
Two years ago, voters supported allowing Confederate statues to stay by nearly a wide margin, 63 percent to 35 percent.
Now, 51 percent say the statues should be removed, while 47 percent disagree.
However, only 10 percent believe the statues should be destroyed outright, with 41 percent supporting removing them to be placed in museums or on private property.
Thirty-one percent believe the statues should remain where they are, but with a plaque added to explain their historical context. Only 16 percent support leaving the statues where they are with no changes.
‘We do not have lots of people in the extremes on this question,’ Micah Roberts, a Republican pollster who also collaborated on the survey, told the Journal.
Three-quarters of voters told the poll that they were encouraged that the country is addressing longstanding issues of racism in society.
However, half said they were concerned that the protests over racial issues are creating social unrest and bringing too much change to the country.