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On race, religion and opportunity, southerners have differences
Winthrop poll shows gulf between blacks, whites
 
Published Monday, November 13, 2017 9:05 pm
by Herbert L. White

FILE PHOTO
Southerners have a wide disparity on race relations, economic mobility and religion, according to a Winthrop University poll.

What do black southerners think about religion, equality and confederate monuments?

A Winthrop University poll found African American residents are more likely to be religious than their white counterparts, according to the latest Winthrop Poll, but are less likely to believe that America was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.
Three-fourths of blacks surveyed in 11 southern states said religion is important in their lives, but fewer blacks than whites agreed on religious principles the United States was founded on.


“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 un-Christian,” poll director Scott Huffmon said. “Irrespective, this finding warrants more research.”
Results from the survey of 830 residents by landline and cell phones between Oct. 22-Nov. 5 with a margin of error of 3.4 percent:

Racial perspectives
Southerners of all ethnicities said everyone should be treated equally, and that America should protect and preserve its multi-cultural heritage.


Whites and blacks expressed unease regarding their relative safety and position in the country. When asked if whites were under attack, 46 percent of whites agreed or strongly agreed, compared to three-fourths of blacks who said racial minorities are under attack.
When asked if America must protect and preserve its white European heritage, 30 percent of all respondents agreed, while more than half disagreed or strongly disagreed.


Interracial marriage is more accepted, with half of respondents strongly disagreeing that marriage should be exclusively same-race. Southerners agreed that people of different races should be free to live wherever they choose.


Around two-thirds of residents said they agreed or strongly agreed that political correctness threatens Americans’ liberty to speak freely.

Confederate monuments
Forty-three percent of Southerners said to leave Civil War 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 percent said add a plaque and 27 percent said to move them to a museum. Nearly half of blacks favor moving them to a museum, while a fourth want them removed completely.

Southern attitudes
When 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. Only 15 percent of whites think of southerners as racists while 25 percent of black respondents do.

Economic opportunity
More than 60 percent of southerners said America is headed in the wrong direction while more than two-thirds believe the economy is very good or fairly good.


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


Southerners said the most important problem facing America is racism, followed by politics, President Donald Trump, and the economy. Black fokss were more than twice as likely to list racism as the most important problem, followed by Trump.


Black southerners think all Americans don’t have an equal chance to succeed if they work equally hard: 61 percent of whites said yes, while 65 percent of African Americans said no. Sixty percent of blacks strongly agreed that generations of slavery and bias have trapped African Americans in poverty.

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