Race Relations Have Worsened for a Majority of Americans

The country is deeply divided on whether to rename U.S. Army installations christened after Confederate historical figures.

Vancouver, BC [September 30, 2020] – Adults in the United States hold ominous views on the issue of race relations, as considerable proportions of residents of specific ethnic background say they have experienced racism in the country, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 58% of Americans say race relations in the United States have worsened over the past two years, while only 30% believe they have improved.

Practically three-in-four respondents of Native American descent (73%) think race relations have worsened over the past two years—a view shared by 59% of White Americans, 58% of Asian and Pacific Islanders, 58% of African Americans and 46% of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

About three-in-five Americans say they have personally experienced behaviour that they would consider racist in the United States on social media (60%) and during day-to-day interactions with others (59%). 

Smaller proportions of Americans have endured racism at work (49%), at school (47%), during interactions with police or law enforcement officers (44%) and during interactions with the health care system (39%).

“Almost two thirds of Americans of African and Hispanic or Latino descent (64% each) say they have experienced racist behaviour when dealing with police and law enforcement in the United States,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion is lower for Native Americans (51%), Asian and Pacific Islanders (42%) and White Americans (38%).”

More than half of Americans say they have witnessed racist behaviour on social media (68%), during day-to-day interactions with others (65%), at work (56%), at school (55%) and during interactions with police or law enforcement officers (also 55%). 

More than two-in-five Americans (46%) say they have witnessed racist behaviour during interactions with the health care system.

A majority of Americans (56%) have a positive opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement, while 35% hold negative views. 

Perceptions on Black Lives Matter vary greatly according to ethnicity, from a high of 71% among African Americans to a low of 40% among Native Americans.

Half of Americans (50%) hold positive views on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, while 30% have a negative opinion.

Positive perceptions of #MeToo and #TimesUp are higher with Americans aged 18-to-34 and aged 35-to-54 (56% each) than among those aged 55 and over (40%).

Respondents to this survey were also asked about four recent decisions and proposals. 

More than half of Americans agree with NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate Flag from events (56%) while 33% disagree.

On a regional basis, agreement with NASCAR’s choice is highest in the West (64%), followed by the Midwest (58%), the South (54%) and the Northeast (52%).

The nationwide results are similar for the State of Mississippi’s decision to change its flag to a new one that will not feature the Confederate battle emblem. A majority of Americans (56%) agree with this decree, while one third (33%) disagree.

On this particular decision, support is also highest from Americans who reside in the West (64%), followed by the Midwest (57%), the South (55%) and the Northeast (50%).

Two other proposals are decidedly more contentious. While 46% of respondents agree with the removal of monuments and sculptures that feature Americans who owned slaves, 46% disagree and 8% are undecided.

Support for the removal of these monuments and sculptures stands at 63% among Democrats and 74% among African Americans, but drops to 42% among Independents, 30% among Republicans and 40% among White Americans.

The results are similar for the notion of renaming U.S. Army installations named after Confederate historical figures. Across the country, 45% of Americans agree with this proposal, while 44% disagree.

Support for changing the names of these installations is higher among Democrats (65%) and African Americans (61%) and lower among Republicans (28%) and White Americans (39%).

Methodology:
Results are based on online studies conducted on August 3 and August 4, 2020, and from September 4 to September 6, 2020, among 2,400 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to U.S. census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.0 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Photo: Life Matters

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca