Posted on September 29, 2017

Views About Whether Whites Benefit From Societal Advantages Split Sharply Along Racial and Partisan Lines

Baxter Oliphant, Pew Research Center, September 28, 2017

Issues of race have long divided Americans along racial and partisan lines, and these differences extend to views of whether white people in the U.S. benefit from advantages in society that black people do not have.


Whites and blacks have distinctly different views. An overwhelming majority of blacks (92%) say whites benefit a great deal or a fair amount from advantages that blacks do not have, including 68% who say they benefit a great deal.


Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are nearly the opposite: 27% say whites benefit a great deal or a fair amount from societal advantages, compared with 72% who say they do not benefit at all or do not benefit too much.

Although wide majorities of both black and white Democrats say whites enjoy at least a fair amount of advantages that blacks do not (95% and 73%, respectively), black Democrats are much more likely than white Democrats to say whites have a great deal of advantages (72% vs. 32%).

Trump’s ratings are highest among those who see no societal advantages for whites

Just as past surveys have found that feelings toward Donald Trump are associated with attitudes about racial and ethnic diversity, views of Trump’s job performance are closely connected to attitudes about whether whites have societal advantages.


Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say white people do not derive any benefits from their race, 89% approve of Trump’s job performance, with 74% strongly approving. Among Republicans who say whites benefit not too much compared to blacks in society, Trump’s overall job approval is lower, though still high (75%), and it falls to 59% among those saying whites benefit a fair amount. Among the 6% of Republicans and Republican leaners who say that white people have a great deal of advantage over black people, just 39% approve of Trump’s job performance.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who say whites benefit a great deal from societal advantages, nearly all (97%) disapprove of Trump’s performance, including 88% who disapprove strongly. By contrast, among Democrats who say whites do not benefit too much or do not benefit at all from societal advantages, 81% disapprove of Trump, with 64% saying they disapprove strongly.