You said you want numbers

Survey: many voters believe American society is racist

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 5:46 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (NBC) — “Amid a moment of national reckoning on racial issues and the mourning of one of the country’s most revered civil rights leaders, new numbers from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll show that American voters have become significantly more aware of racial discrimination and more sympathetic to those protesting to end it, even as the country remains deeply divided over the prevalence of bigotry and its root causes.

The poll finds that voters in America are now more likely to say that people of color experience discrimination, to describe athletes kneeling in protest of racial inequality as appropriate, to view the Black Lives Matter movement as a positive force, and to support the removal of Confederate monuments in public spaces.

But at the same time, voters are deeply pessimistic about the current state of race relations, the country is sharply divided about whether racism is systemic or just perpetrated by “bad apples,” and partisan identity remains an overwhelming predictor of how voters view the experiences of people of color and the current movement for greater racial equality.

The poll — which was conducted July 9-12, before the death of civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis — found that a majority of voters, 56 percent, say that American society is racist, while 40 percent disagree. That share is almost unchanged since the Associated Press found 55 percent of voters saying American society is racist in a July 1988 survey.”

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