UVA Center for Politics poll: Majority believes race relations have worsened under Trump

donald trumpA new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in conjunction with the UVA Center for Politics finds that a majority of Americans surveyed believe that race relations in the United States have gotten at least somewhat worse since President Donald Trump’s election.

The poll also explores American racial attitudes at the one-year anniversary of a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville last August.

Americans offered more mixed opinions on race relations looking back on President Barack Obama’s presidency, with roughly equal numbers saying race relations got better or got worse during his presidency.

Tables 1 and 2 shows how respondents felt about race relations during both the Trump and Obama presidencies. Americans believe by 57% to 15% that race relations have become worse since President Trump’s election. By contrast, respondents were evenly divided about Barack Obama’s time in the White House, with 38% believing race relations improved and 37% saying they worsened.

Table 1: “Since President Trump’s election, do you believe that race relations in America are better or worse?”

A lot better Somewhat better No different Somewhat worse A lot worse Don’t know Total Better Total Worse
4% 11% 22% 17% 39% 7% 15% 57%

Table 2: “During President Obama’s presidency, do you believe that race relations in America became better or worse?”

A lot better Somewhat better No different Somewhat worse A lot worse Don’t know Total Better Total Worse
14% 24% 19% 14% 23% 6% 38% 37%

The poll was conducted in advance of the first anniversary of a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville held on Aug. 12, 2017 and updates a previous Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics poll released on Sept. 14, 2017 measuring Americans’ racial attitudes. The new poll, conducted Aug. 2-6, 2018 and featuring 1,450 respondents, asked several of the same questions as the poll from last year.

Tables 3-5 show the recent poll results, the results from last year in response to the same questions, and the amount of change from 2017 to now.

Table 3: “Which comes closest to your opinion?”

Statement Total Aug. 2018 Total Sept. 2017 Change
Confederate monuments should be removed from all public spaces (i.e. parks, public squares, court houses) 25% 26% -1%
Confederate monuments should remain in all public spaces (i.e. parks, public squares, court houses) 56% 57% -1%
Don’t know 18% 17% 1%

Table 4: “Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement(s)”

Statement Level of agreement Total Aug. 2018 Total Sept. 2017 Change
“Political correctness” threatens our liberty as Americans to speak our minds. Strongly agree 38% 35% 3%
Somewhat agree 24% 25% -1%
Neither agree nor disagree 15% 18% -3%
Somewhat disagree 6% 8% -2%
Strongly disagree 10% 9% 1%
Don’t know 7% 6% 1%
America must protect and preserve its White European heritage. Strongly agree 19% 16% 3%
Somewhat agree 16% 15% 1%
Neither agree nor disagree 26% 29% -3%
Somewhat disagree 8% 9% -1%
Strongly disagree 24% 24% 0%
Don’t know 6% 5% 1%
Marriage should only be allowed between people of the same race. Strongly agree 10% 10% 0%
Somewhat agree 6% 6% 0%
Neither agree nor disagree 13% 14% -1%
Somewhat disagree 8% 6% 2%
Strongly disagree 57% 59% -2%
Don’t know 5% 4% 1%
People of different races should be free to live wherever they choose. Strongly agree 72% 70% 2%
Somewhat agree 14% 15% -1%
Neither agree nor disagree 7% 8% -1%
Somewhat disagree 2% 3% -1%
Strongly disagree 2% 2% 0%
Don’t know 3% 3% 0%
All races are equal. Strongly agree 70% 70% 0%
Somewhat agree 12% 12% 0%
Neither agree nor disagree 7% 8% -1%
Somewhat disagree 4% 3% 1%
Strongly disagree 4% 4% 0%
Don’t know 3% 3% 0%
White people are currently under attack in this country. Strongly agree 19% 19% 0%
Somewhat agree 24% 20% 4%
Neither agree nor disagree 16% 19% -3%
Somewhat disagree 9% 10% -1%
Strongly disagree 28% 28% 0%
Don’t know 5% 4% 1%
All races should be treated equally. Strongly agree 81% 80% 1%
Somewhat agree 10% 9% 1%
Neither agree nor disagree 4% 5%

 

Table 5: “Do you support or oppose the following group or movement?”

Group Level of support Total Aug. 2018 Total Sept. 2017 Change
Antifa? Strongly support 3% 3% 0%
Somewhat support 5% 5% 0%
Neither support not oppose 16% 20% -4%
Somewhat oppose 5% 6% -1%
Strongly oppose 34% 33% 1%
Don’t know 37% 32% 5%
Black Lives Matter? Strongly support 20% 18% 2%
Somewhat support 14% 14% 0%
Neither support not oppose 21% 24% -3%
Somewhat oppose 8% 8% 0%
Strongly oppose 28% 29% -1%
Don’t know 9% 7% 2%
The alt-right? Strongly support 3% 2% 1%
Somewhat support 4% 4% 0%
Neither support not oppose 17% 19% -2%
Somewhat oppose 6% 7% -1%
Strongly oppose 42% 45% -3%
Don’t know 28% 23% 5%
White nationalism? Strongly support 4% 3% 1%
Somewhat support 4% 4% 0%
Neither support not oppose 17% 18% -1%
Somewhat oppose 7% 6% 1%
Strongly oppose 56% 59% -3%
Don’t know 12% 10% 2%
Neo Nazism? Strongly support 2% 2% 0%
Somewhat support 3% 2% 1%
Neither support not oppose 8% 10% -2%
Somewhat oppose 4% 4% 0%
Strongly oppose 72% 73% -1%
Don’t know 11% 9% 2%

As was the case in last year’s poll, few showed support for white nationalists and neo-Nazis. On the flip side, about a third of respondents did not express clear support for seemingly settled social issues, like support for interracial marriage. Americans generally showed a good deal of consistency on these questions between September 2017 and now. For instance, a majority of Americans both last year and now opposed the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces.

The full results and methodology from the new polling are available here and the crosstabs are available here.

The full results and methodology from the Sept. 2017 poll are available here and the crosstabs are available here.


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