Many Americans Have More in Common with White Nationalists than They Think, Poll Finds

Stav Ziv, Newsweek, September 15, 2017

Very few Americans will say outright that they support neo-Nazism, white nationalism or the so-called alt right. But that doesn’t mean they don’t express support for some of the same racially-charged ideas and attitudes that such extremists espouse. A new poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos with the University of Virginia Center for Politics in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rallies found what it called “troubling racial attitudes.”

The poll was conducted from August 21 to September 5, in the weeks following a “Unite the Right” rally, white supremacist marches and counter-protests on the University of Virginia campus and in downtown Charlottesville.

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About 70 percent of respondents strongly agreed that people of different races should be “free to live wherever they choose” and that “all races are equal,” and 89 percent agreed that all races should be treated equally.

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The poll also revealed disparities in which groups Americans believe are “under attack.” More than a third—39 percent—of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that “white people are currently under attack in this country.” There were significant differences in responses depending on race and political affiliation.

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Only 26 percent of white respondents expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement compared to 33 percent of Hispanic respondents and 62 percent of African-American respondents. More than half (52 percent) of Democrats expressed support while 62 percent of Republicans opposed BLM.

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The poll revealed a high level of indifference—as marked by those who gave “neither agree nor disagree” or “neither support nor oppose” answers. But that, too, was a troubling outcome. An analysis by the pollsters found that those who gave indifferent answers were “more likely to have views that leaned more toward intolerance than away from it.”

They “are far less likely to condemn statements against interracial marriage and in favor of preserving white heritage,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark is quoted as saying. In addition, they “are notably less likely than other respondents to feel all races should be treated equally or that minorities are under attack,” she said.

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In other words, many Americans have more in common with the alt-right, white nationalists and neo-Nazis than they might think.

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