Race still matters across South, Winthrop Poll suggests

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By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Race still seems to matter across the South, but maybe not as much as it used to in some areas, based on results from a new Winthrop Poll released today.

Overall, black and white Southerners have different ways of looking at how the country is doing and with how they perceive slavery, discrimination, success, religion and Confederate monuments.  But the two races agree on their views of liberty, success, Southern qualities and some extremists. Consider:

Country’s track:  Seven out of eight blacks (88 percent) said they thought the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 55 percent of whites.  Three in five black respondents think the country’s economic conditions are getting worse, compared to 28 percent of whites.

Under attack.  About half of white Southerners believe white people are under attack in America, compared to 12 percent of the blacks who participated in the poll.  Conversely, 81 percent of black Southerners say they agree or strongly agree that racial minorities are under attack.  Half of white respondents said the same thing.

Slavery, discrimination.  Sixty percent of black Southerners said they believed strongly that generations of slavery and discrimination made it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.  Only 19 percent of white Southerners believed just as strongly.

Success.  Two-thirds of black Southerners said all people do not have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard.  Just over one-third of white Southerners said the same, while 61 percent said there was an equal chance.

Confederate monuments.  Half of black Southerners think monuments or memorials to Confederate soldiers need to go to a museum.  Half of whites think they need to stay just as they are, without contextual or historic interpretation.

Religion.  Just over half of black Southerners – 53 percent – said they attended church at least once a week or more, compared to 35 percent of white Southerners polled.  Three in four blacks said religion was very important in their lives, compared to 56 percent of white respondents.  Meanwhile, fewer black Southerners than white peerss agreed on the religious principles that the country was founded upon. (42 percent of black respondents agreed or strongly agreed the U.S. was founded “as an explicitly Christian nation,” compared to 55 percent of white respondents.)

“African Americans, who tend to be more devout in their Christianity, may not connect their religious beliefs to their historical beliefs, or they may see the United States as founded on slavery, which is inherently unchristian. Irrespective, this finding warrants more research,” said Winthrop Poll director Scott Huffmon in a statement.

Despite disparities between races, there were some similarities in responses:

Liberty.  About the same percentage of blacks (67 percent) and whites (71 percent) agreed or strongly agreed that “political correctness” threatens Americans’ liberty to speak their minds.  Similarly, 99 percent of blacks and 97 percent of whites who took the poll said people of different races should be free to live wherever they want.  And 98 percent of whites and 97 percent of blacks agreed or strongly agreed that all races should be treated equally.

Finances.  A majority of white respondents (60 percent) and black respondents (51 percent) said their personal financial situation seemed to be getting better.  One in three black Southerners said it was getting worse, compared to one in four white Southerners.

Southerners.  A majority of white (76 percent) and black (66 percent) Southerners said they imagined Southerners as close to their family.  A majority of respondents – 87 percent of whites and 65 percent of blacks – said they did not imagine Southerners as racist.

Extremists.  Black and white Southerners were cool to white supremacists and neo-Nazis, with both groups rating less than 10 on a scale where 1 represented a cool, unfavorable feeling and 100 a warm, favorable feeling.  Black respondents felt warm (70) to the Black Lives Matter movement, compared to a 35.4 percent rating by white respondents.

The Winthrop Poll was conducted Oct. 22 to Nov. 5 by callers who talked with 830 residents in 11 Southern states.  The sample, which has a margin of error of 3.4 percent, included respondents in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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  1. Pingback: Poll: Nearly half of white Southerners feel like they're under attack | News Blog Kale soup Marketing

  2. Pingback: Poll: Nearly half of white Southerners feel like they’re under attack – JeffPerales.com

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