A new poll conducted since the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has shown that while most Americans say they are against racism and white nationalism, many hold those very views.
It was an online Ipsos poll for Thomson Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics that took place between August 21 and September 5. It sampled approximately 5,360 people and asked race-related questions that people could agree or disagree with to varying degrees.
“While there is relatively little national endorsement of neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” according to the poll’s findings, “there are troubling levels of support for certain racially-charged ideas and attitudes frequently expressed by extremist groups.”
The majority did express support for racial equality when asked directly, 70 percent strongly agreed that “all races are equal,” and 89 percent said they should all be treated equally.
Responses changed somewhat when it came to the issues of race and extremism with 31 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat agreed that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage.”
Eight percent of respondents said they supported white nationalism as a group or movement but far more of them said they supported their viewpoints. It should also be noted that 39 percent agreed that “white people are currently under attack in this country.”
“The poll results do show both an American public that overwhelmingly rejects racist affiliations and movements but at the same time is more tolerant of racially insensitive positions,” Kyle Kondik, communications director at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, stated.
“The results may be what you might expect from a country that is arguably defined by racial conflict,” he went on. “And one that can vote for an African-American for president who ran on unity less than a decade ago, and then turn around and vote for a vehemently anti-immigrant candidate who exploited white grievances just last year.”