Though most Americans believe prejudice against minorities in the United States today is a serious problem, they remain split on support for Black Lives Matter as well as affirmative action policies that address racial inequality, according to an icitizen “Race in America” poll conducted Feb. 13-17, 2017.
In an icitizen survey of 1,011 Americans, newly-elected President Donald Trump faces an uphill battle as he begins his tenure with low favorability and low enthusiasm about the direction of the country. In this month’s poll, on “Race in America”:
- Over 6 in 10 Americans believe that things in the nation are headed on the wrong track (61%).
- Fifty-five percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of President Trump, 44% favorable (1% unsure).
- Over two-thirds (66%) of Americans believe prejudice against minorities is a serious problem in the United States today.
- Fully 87% believe agree that “Our country should do whatever is necessary to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.”
- Yet, nearly half of respondents (49%) believe that race or ethnicity has “not made a difference” when it comes to succeeding in life (19% “made it harder,” 27% “made it easier” and 5% unsure”).
- Over 8 in 10 Americans (83%) oppose businesses considering race as a factor in hiring decisions.
Overall, low favorability of President Trump is consistent with a negative tone for the direction of the nation. A racial divide is evidenced in intensity of opinion about Trump, with negative evaluations of Trump strongest among non-white Americans.
- Fifty-five percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of President Trump, 44% favorable (1% unsure). Unfavorable views are strongest among racial minorities (69%) and millennials ages 18-34 (73%).
- Views of President Trump are pretty evenly aligned down party lines with 93% of Republicans with “favorable” views and 95% of Democrats with “unfavorable views.” Most Independents, (54%), view Trump unfavorably.
- Most Americans (61%) believe things in the nation are headed down the wrong track, including 70% of millennials, 66% of women ages 18-49 and 71% of racial minorities. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans believe the nation is headed down the wrong track.
Addressing Race in America
- Fully 87% of Americans agree that “our country should do whatever is necessary to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed” (12% disagree and 1% are unsure).
- Among those in agreement are 90% of females, 90% of racial minorities and 97% of those who believe Islam is a “peaceful religion.”
- A majority (66%) of Americans think prejudice against minority groups is a “serious” problem in the United States, with 40% who believe it is a “very serious problem” (33% “not serious problem,” 1% unsure).
- This sentiment crosses racial and partisan lines: 80% of racial minorities, 60% of white Americans, 97% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans believe prejudice is a serious problem.
- Those who believe prejudice against minorities is “not a serious problem” include 69% of those who view Trump favorably and 67% who believe Islam “encourages violence.”
“Though most Americans agree with values of equal opportunity, they are split in their support for groups and policies that address racial inequality,” said Cynthia Villacis, icitizen polling analyst. “This discrepancy can be seen especially down party lines.”
- Americans are split down the middle when it comes to the mission of Black Lives Matter with 48% who agree and 49% who disagree (3% unsure).
- Intensity in opinion is strongest among those who disagree, with 41% who “strongly disagree” versus only 27% who “strongly agree.”
- Similarly, opinions are split largely down partisan lines, with Republicans demonstrating slightly greater cohesion (92% of Republicans disagree with Black Lives Matter, 87% of Democrats agree).
- A sizeable majority of Americans (83%) oppose businesses considering race as a factor in hiring decisions. This opposition is strongest among males 50 years and older (87%), those without a college education (85%) and 91% of those with favorable views of Trump.
- Intensity in opinion is strongest among the opposition, with 65% who “strongly oppose” this form of affirmative action in hiring versus only 3% who “strongly favor.”
The survey was conducted online from February 13-17, 2017 among 1,011 Americans nationwide. In order to achieve an accurate demographic representation of the public, the data were weighted to U.S. Census benchmarks for gender, age, race, education and national benchmarks for party identification. The margin of error for the full sample is 3.08 percentage points and is higher for subgroups.
For more information, please contact Cynthia Villacis, icitizen’s lead polling analyst.