2.22.19 Americans Agree: We’re Still Divided on Politics

Americans Agree: We’re Still Divided on Politics

A new piece from U.S. News and World Report takes a look at PRRI’s latest survey, conducted in partnership with The Atlantic, and examines what it says about America and pluralism. PRRI found that there continues to be great political division across the United States. Over seven in ten (74 percent) Americans say the country is divided, including 96 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats. Reporter Alexa Lardieri writes, “Despite the division, two-thirds of Americans believe the country can unite across racial and ethnic divides to solve problems in the U.S. Thirty percent believe the opposite. However, people are less likely to feel this way when it comes to the political divide. The poll found that 59 percent of Americans are pessimistic that people with different political views can come together to solve problems, while 38 percent feel optimistic.” Lardieri also outlines the survey’s findings about Americans’ view of President Donald Trump: Nearly four in ten (36 percent) of Americans have a positive view of the president, while 60 percent have a negative view. 
Faith Leaders Rally in Austin

Faith leaders from a diverse array of traditions gathered at the Texas Capitol in Austin this week to call for more protections for the LGBT community. “The Bible I read does not tell me to discriminate against my neighbor, but to love my neighbor and to treat everyone as I would like to be treated,” Rev. Dr. Michael Diaz of Dallas says. “Like the majority of Texans, I believe it’s time our state laws reflect the same sense of respect to gay and transgender Texans.” Russell Falcon of Austin’s NBC affiliate writes, “Polling from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 64 percent of Texans support laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public services and housing. The same polling shows that 57 percent oppose allowing businesses to refuse to provide products or services to LGBT people for religious reasons.”
New Report Says Killings by White Supremacists Doubled in 2018

Killings by white supremacists in the United States more than doubled last year, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The report’s authors attributed this shift to “noxious anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas into the public consciousness” from Trump and right-wing news organizations like Fox News, writes Andrew Buncombe in The Independent. Buncombe points to the report’s use of PRRI data, writing: “The report claimed that ‘most Americans are now fully aware that Trump is emboldening white supremacists and helping to grow their ranks.’ It pointed to an October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute that showed a majority of respondents believed the president had ‘encouraged white supremacist groups.’”
Florida Boy Refuses to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A Florida boy who would not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because he believes it represents racism was briefly arrested after an altercation with a teacher. The 11-year-old will not face any charges, despite allegations from police that he made threatening statements to the teacher. “The young man engaged in protected activity when he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance but then he engaged in protected speech when he stated his reasons,” Roderick O. Ford, the boy’s lawyer, told The New York Times. “We believe that the latter part is the major concern because he says the national anthem stood for discriminatory treatment of blacks. That was the real reason for the discrimination.” The boy’s arrest comes shortly after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick reached a settlement with the NFL after he alleged that owners had colluded to keep him out of the league because of his controversial protests during the national anthemPRRI data show that 65 percent of Americans believe that athletes began kneeling during the anthem to protest police violence against African Americans.