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Current Findings

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Southern black residents are more likely to be religious than white residents, according to the latest Winthrop Poll, given in 11 Southern states, but are less likely to believe that America was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.

Three-fourths of blacks surveyed said religion is important in their lives. Yet fewer blacks than whites agreed on the religious principles that the United States was founded on. Poll Director Scott Huffmon suggested several possible interpretations, “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.”

The latest Winthrop Poll asked residents about their attitudes toward race, religion, Confederate monuments and the economy, among other issues. The Southern state residents contacted were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

More extensive poll questions and poll results will be released in the next month.

RACE PERSPECTIVES

Overwhelmingly, Winthrop Poll respondents of all races across the South said all races should be treated equally, and that America should protect and preserve its multi-cultural heritage.

Yet both whites and blacks felt uneasy regarding their relative safety and position in the country. When asked if white people were under attack, 46% of whites agreed or strongly agreed. And more than three-fourths of black respondents said racial minorities are currently under attack in the United States.

When asked if America must protect and preserve its White European heritage, 30% of all respondents agreed, while more than half disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Interracial marriage seems to have grown in acceptance across the region. Half of the respondents strongly disagreed that marriage should only be allowed between people of the same race. Southerners also were united in saying that people of different races should be free to live wherever they choose.

Respondents seem frustrated that “political correctness” threatens the liberty of Americans to speak their minds. Around two-thirds of residents said they agreed or strongly agreed.

CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS

With hundreds of monuments standing across the country in parks and outside government offices, the majority in the South, many politicians have pushed for the removal of statues, memorials, and other monuments that celebrate Civil War era figures. The Winthrop Poll asked residents what should be done with the statues commemorating Confederate War “heroes,” or memorials to Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War.

Forty-three percent of Southerners said to leave the memorials to those who died in the Civil War just as they are, while one-fourth said add a plaque for context and historical interpretation, while another one-fourth said to move them to a museum. Half of the black respondents said they should be moved to a museum.

As far as statues honoring Confederate war heroes, residents were less supportive. Forty percent said to leave them where they are, 24% said add a plaque and 27% said to move them to a museum. Nearly half of blacks said to move them to a museum, while a fourth said to remove them completely. 

SOUTHERN ATTITUDES

When poll respondents hear someone referred to as Southern, almost three quarters imagine that person to be close to their family. More than half think of the hypothetical “Southerner” as religious, though whites were more likely to say that than blacks. They also don’t think of Southerners as racists – only 15% said yes. A fourth of black respondents said they think of Southerners as racists.

ECONOMY AND OPPORTUNITY

More than 60% of Winthrop Poll respondents in the South said our country is headed in the wrong direction. Yet more than two thirds of Southern residents said our country’s economy is very good or fairly good.

More than half (54%) think the economic conditions in the country as a whole are moving in a positive direction, though 63% of blacks said they were getting worse and 57% of all respondents described their own financial situation as good or excellent.

Southerners said the most important problem facing our country is racism, followed by politicians/government, President Donald Trump, and the economy. Black residents were more than twice as likely to list racism as the most important problem, followed closely by Trump.

Black Southerners also think that all people in the United States do not have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard: 61% of whites said yes, while 65% of blacks said no. And 60% of blacks strongly agreed that generations of slavery and discrimination make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.

POLITICS AND MOVEMENTS

Winthrop Poll respondents also were asked about political parties, movements and symbols as judged by a “feeling thermometer” where ratings closer to 100 mean you feel positive and warm whereas ratings closer to 0 mean you feel negative and cold toward groups or persons. Those responses below a 50 rating were regarded as unfavorable, 50 as neutral and above 50 were regarded positive or warmly.

Here are some highlights – mean “Feeling Thermometer” Score:

Republican Party, all respondents, 47.5; white, 52.1; black, 31.6
Democratic Party, all, 46.1; white, 41; black, 63.7
Antifa movement, all, 25.5; white, 21; black, 42
Black Lives Matter, all, 43; white, 35.4; black, 70
White supremacists, all, 7.5; white 6.6; black, 7.9
Confederate flag, all, 42.8; white, 49.9; black, 16.5

METHODOLOGY

For this latest Winthrop Poll, callers surveyed 830 residents in 11 Southern states by landline and cell phones between Oct. 22 and Nov. 5. The Southern states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Results which use all respondents have a margin of error of approximately +/- 3.4% at the 95% confidence level. Subgroups have higher margins of error. Margins of error are based on weighted sample size.   

CLICKHERE FOR FULL METHODOLOGY STATEMENT.

POLL FUNDING AND CONTACT INFORMATION

 

The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University with additional support from The West Forum on Politics and Policy at Winthrop University. For additional information, or to set up an interview with Poll Director Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at longshawj@winthrop.edu or 803/323-2404 (office) or 803/984-0586 (cell).

Demographics:

The following table represents the combined demographics of AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, and VA as taken from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2015) and the November 2017 Winthrop Poll of the same states.

 

US Census Bureau-American Community Survey est.

November 2017 Winthrop Poll

Male

48.0769

48.4

Female

51.9231

51.5

Not Sure

--

0.1

     

18-29

21.5881

18.8

30-44

24.1393

22.2

45-64

33.8867

34.8

65+

20.3859

21.9

Refused

--

2.4

     

White

73.7545

72.5

Black

20.0113

19.4

Other

6.2342

3.6

Refused

--

4.5

 

RESULTS MAY NOT SUM TO 100 DUE TO ROUNDING

 

T1 Thinking about the current path that our nation is taking, do you think our country is on the right track or headed in the wrong direction?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Right Track

 

 

29

 

37

 

6

 

Wrong Direction

 

 

63

 

55

 

88

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

8

 

9

 

6


T2 What do you think is the most important problem facing the United States of America today?

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Racism

7.7%

 

 

Politicians/Government

6.8%

 

Racism

16.7%

 

Politicians/Government

7.2%

 

 

Economy

6.1%

 

Donald Trump

16%

 

Donald Trump

6.8%

 

 

Healthcare (people not having it)

5.3%

 

Politicians/Government

8.3%

 

Economy

5.2%

 

 

Immigration

5.1%

 

Healthcare (people not having it)

5.1%

 

Healthcare (people not having it)

5.1%

 

Racism

5.1%

 

War

4.5%

 

Immigration

4.0%

 

Donald Trump

4.4%

 

Economy

3.2%

 

 

T3 How would you rate the condition of the economy of the country as a whole these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Very Good

 

 

8

 

9

 

4

 

Fairly Good

 

 

61

 

65

 

52

 

Fairly Bad

 

 

20

 

17

 

26

 

Very Bad

 

 

8

 

6

 

17

 

Not Sure

 

 

3

 

3

 

2

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

--

 

 

T4 Right now, do you think that economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Getting Better

 

 

54

 

63

 

24

 

Getting Worse

 

 

36

 

28

 

63

 

Not Sure [volunteered]

 

 

9

 

7

 

13

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

2

 

--

 

 

T5 How would you rate your financial situation today? As excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Excellent

 

 

12

 

14

 

6

 

Good

 

 

45

 

48

 

37

 

Only Fair

 

 

30

 

27

 

36

 

Poor

 

 

13

 

11

 

21

 

Not Sure

 

 

--

 

--

 

--

 

Refused

 

 

0

 

0

 

--

 

 

T6 Right now, do you think that your financial situation as a whole is getting better or getting worse?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Getting Better

 

 

58

 

60

 

51

 

Getting Worse

 

 

26

 

23

 

34

 

Not Sure [volunteered]

 

 

14

 

14

 

14

 

Refused

 

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

 

 

As you may be aware, there has been some discussion recently about Civil War era monuments and statues. We'd like to get your feelings on different types of these.

[NOTE: The order of the next two questions was randomized by computer and the order of the answer options was rotated by the interviewers.]

T7 Which of the following comes closest to your opinion about what to do with monuments or memorials to Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Leave them just as they are

 

 

43

 

50

 

19

 

 

Leave them, but add a plaque or marker for context and historical interpretation

 

 

 

25

 

 

29

 

 

12

 

Move them to a museum

 

 

25

 

17

 

50

 

Remove them completely

 

 

5

 

2

 

17

 

Not Sure/ Don’t Know

 

 

2

 

1

 

1

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

0

 

1

 

 

T8  Which of the following comes closest to your opinion about what to do with statues honoring Confederate war heroes?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Leave them just as they are

 

 

40

 

48

 

14

 

 

Leave them, but add a plaque or marker for context and historical interpretation

 

 

 

24

 

 

28

 

 

11

 

Move them to a museum

 

 

27

 

20

 

48

 

Remove them completely

 

 

8

 

3

 

25

 

Not Sure/ Don’t Know

 

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

Refused

 

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

When you read or hear someone referred to as southern, do you imagine that person to be...

[NOTE: the order of the following three questions was randomized by computer]

T9 Close to their family

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Yes

 

 

73

 

76

 

66

 

No

 

 

21

 

19

 

28

 

Not Sure

 

 

4

 

4

 

3

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

3

 

T10 Religious

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Yes

 

 

57

 

61

 

44

 

No

 

 

38

 

34

 

50

 

Not Sure

 

 

4

 

4

 

3

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

3

 

T11 Racist

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Yes

 

 

15

 

11

 

26

 

No

 

 

81

 

87

 

65

 

Not Sure

 

 

4

 

3

 

7

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

0

 

3

 

 

I'd like to get your feelings toward some of our political leaders and other people or groups who are in the news these days. I'll read the name of a person and I'd like you to rate that person using something we call the feeling thermometer.

Ratings between 50 degrees and 100 degrees mean that you feel favorable and warm toward the person or group. Ratings between 0 degrees and 50 degrees mean that you don't feel favorable toward the person or group and that you don't care too much for them.

You would rate the person or group at the 50 degree mark if you don't feel particularly warm or cold toward the person or group.

If we come to a person or group whose name you don't recognize, you don't need to rate that person.  Just tell me and we'll move on to the next one.

[NOTE: the order of these were randomized by computer]

T12

 

All Respondents
(Mean score reported)

White

(Mean score reported)

Black

(Mean score reported)

Republican Party

47.5

52.1

31.6

Democratic Party

46.1

41

63.7

Antifa*

25.5

21

42

Black Lives Matter

43

35.4

70

White supremacists

7.5

6.6

7.9

Neo-Nazis

4.7

3.4

7.9

Confederate Flag

42.8

49.9

16.5

*Because we feared unfamiliarity with the Antifa movement, this was the only item on the Feeling Thermometer that included any explanation. The explanation included was: “the Antifa movement, who have clashed with white supremacists at some demonstrations”

Note: While African Americans having slightly higher feeling thermometer scores for white supremacists and neo-nazis could simply be statistical noise, there is also a significant possibility that the low score for whites is due to “social desirability,” that is, the propensity to give answers to some controversial questions in a way that won’t make the respondent “look bad.” This fascinating artifact of the data deserves further research.

 

 

Now I’m going to read some statements and would like for you to tell me whether you agree or disagree with each statement.

Some of the statements might seem quite controversial, but we are interested in getting people’s genuine opinion, so for each statement, please tell me whether you Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree

[NOTE: the order of the next 9 questions was randomized by computer.]

[NOTE: these questions are identical to several of those from of the Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics Race Poll, which was a national poll conducted online, that we wished to replicate.]

T13 'Political correctness' threatens our liberty as Americans to speak our minds.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

31

 

34

 

21

 

Agree

 

 

38

 

37

 

46

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

7

 

6

 

4

 

Disagree

 

 

16

 

16

 

18

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

6

 

6

 

8

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

3

 

2

 

3

 

T14 America must protect and preserve its White European heritage.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

7

 

7

 

4

 

Agree

 

 

23

 

24

 

19

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

16

 

18

 

11

 

Disagree

 

 

29

 

28

 

28

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

22

 

19

 

35

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

4

 

4

 

4

 

 

T15 Marriage should only be allowed between people of the same race.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

3

 

4

 

3

 

Agree

 

 

5

 

6

 

3

 

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

7

 

8

 

5

 

Disagree

 

 

34

 

33

 

38

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

50

 

48

 

51

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

 

T16 People of different races should be free to live wherever they choose.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

59

 

59

 

61

 

Agree

 

 

37

 

38

 

38

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

1

 

1

 

--

 

Disagree

 

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

--


T17 White people are currently under attack in this country.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

10

 

11

 

3

 

Agree

 

 

29

 

35

 

9

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

8

 

9

 

3

 

Disagree

 

 

33

 

30

 

44

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

19

 

13

 

40

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

2

 

1

 

1

 

 

T18 All races should be treated equally.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

68

 

66

 

74

 

Agree

 

 

30

 

32

 

23

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

1

 

1

 

--

 

Disagree

 

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

1

 

0

 

1

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

0

 

0

 

--

 

 

T19 America must protect and preserve its multi-cultural heritage.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

48

 

46

 

55

 

Agree

 

 

44

 

48

 

35

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

2

 

2

 

1

 

Disagree

 

 

3

 

3

 

5

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

1

 

1

 

2

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

2

 

1

 

2

 

 

 

T20 Racial minorities are currently under attack in this country.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

20

 

13

 

43

 

Agree

 

 

37

 

37

 

38

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

8

 

8

 

7

 

Disagree

 

 

24

 

29

 

8

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

9

 

11

 

2

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

3

 

3

 

3

 

 

T21 America was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly Agree

 

 

16

 

18

 

9

 

Agree

 

 

35

 

37

 

33

 

Neither agree nor disagree

 

 

7

 

7

 

6

 

Disagree

 

 

24

 

22

 

25

 

Strongly Disagree

 

 

16

 

15

 

22

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

2

 

2

 

4

 

 

T22 Do you believe all people in the United States do or do not have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Do

 

 

55

 

61

 

33

 

Do NOT

 

 

43

 

37

 

65

 

Not Sure [volunteered]

 

 

2

 

2

 

3

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

--

 

 

T23 Do you feel that generations of slavery and discrimination do or do not make it difficult for Blacks to work their way out of the lower class?

Do you feel that way Strongly or Somewhat?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Strongly DO make it difficult

 

 

28

 

19

 

60

 

Somewhat DO make it difficult

 

 

19

 

18

 

21

 

Somewhat DO NOT make it difficult

 

 

15

 

18

 

8

 

Strongly DO NOT make it difficult

 

 

34

 

42

 

9

 

Don’t Know/ Not Sure

 

 

3

 

4

 

1


Refused

 

 

1

 

0

 

1

 

 

T24 Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services... more than once a week, once a week, once or twice a month, a few times a year, seldom, or never?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

More than once a week

 

 

17

 

15

 

26

 

Once a week

 

 

22

 

20

 

27

 

Once or twice a month

 

 

14

 

14

 

13

 

A few times a year

 

 

20

 

21

 

17

 

Seldom

 

 

16

 

17

 

11

 

Never

 

 

11

 

13

 

6

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

 

T25 How important would you say religion is in your own life: Very important, Fairly important, or Not very important?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Very important

 

 

60

 

56

 

75

 

Fairly important

 

 

22

 

23

 

17

 

Not very important

 

 

17

 

20

 

8

 

Don’t Know/ Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

 

T26 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of high capacity magazines for guns which hold a larger than standard amount of ammunition?

 

Winthrop Poll of 11 Southern States (all resp)

Quinnipiac Poll

Entire US

Oct 2017

 

Favor

 

 

46

 

64

 

Oppose

 

 

47

 

34

 

Not Sure

 

 

6

 

3

(DK/NA combined)

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

 

T27 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of assault-style weapons?

 

Winthrop Poll of 11 Southern States (all resp)

Quinnipiac Poll

Entire US

Oct 2017

 

Favor

 

 

49

 

62

 

Oppose

 

 

46

 

34

 

Not Sure

 

 

2

 

4

(DK/NA combined)

 

Refused

 

 

2

 

 

 

T28 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of high capacity magazines for guns which hold a larger than standard amount of ammunition?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Favor

 

 

46

 

44

 

58

 

Oppose

 

 

47

 

50

 

36

 

Not Sure

 

 

6

 

5

 

6

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

T29 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of assault-style weapons?

 

All Respondents

White

Black

 

Favor

 

 

49

 

47

 

62

 

Oppose

 

 

46

 

49

 

36

 

Not Sure

 

 

2

 

2

 

2

 

Refused

 

 

2

 

3

 

--

 

 

 

T30 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of high capacity magazines for guns which hold a larger than standard amount of ammunition?

 

GOP
(including Leaners)

Democrats (Including Leaners)

Gun Owner

(self or someone in household)

 

Favor

 

 

33

 

65

 

41

 

Oppose

 

 

60

.

31

 

52

 

Not Sure

 

 

7

 

3

 

6

 

Refused

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

T31 Would you favor or oppose passing a law to ban the sale of assault-style weapons?

 

GOP
(including Leaners)

Democrats (Including Leaners)

Gun Owner

(self or someone in household)

 

Favor

 

 

37

 

72

 

44

 

Oppose

 

 

58

 

26

 

52

 

Not Sure

 

 

3

 

1

 

1

 

Refused

 

 

2

 

1

 

2

 


For methodological questions please read the full Methodology Statement

 

See full methodology page for more info.

###

Contact Information:
Judy Longshaw
803/323-2402 (office)
803/984-0586 (cell)

The Winthrop Poll is paid for by Winthrop University with additional support from The West Forum on Politics and Policy at Winthrop University.

For additional information, or to set up an interview with Dr. Scott Huffmon, please contact Judy Longshaw at longshawj@winthrop.edu or 803/323-2404.

Note: Winthrop University, located in Rock Hill, S.C., is a nationally recognized public university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees to an inclusive, international student body.


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