Landmark survey of roughly 40,000 interviews reveals majority of Republicans believe black people, immigrants, and gay and lesbian individuals do not face significant discrimination
WASHINGTON— A massive new survey released today reveals two distinct partisan visions about the nature of discrimination in America today. Republicans reject the idea that black people, immigrants, and gay and lesbian Americans face discrimination, while overwhelming majorities of Democrats say they do. White Americans—particularly white Christians—are also generally less likely to believe these groups face significant levels of discrimination, but there are important generational differences.
The landmark survey was conducted by the nonpartisan PRRI as part of its 2016 American Values Atlas (AVA). The survey, based on approximately 40,000 interviews spanning all 50 states, explores the public’s attitudes on perceptions of discrimination against four minority groups. The survey also measures attitudes on same-sex marriage, religiously based service refusals of gay and lesbian people, and immigration reform. Read the entire report here: https://www.prri.org/research/americans-views-discrimination-immigrants-blacks-lgbt-sex-marriage-immigration-reform/
Discrimination against Black Americans
Nearly six in ten (57 percent) Americans say blacks face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today, while 39 percent say they do not. However, fewer than one-third (32 percent) of Republicans believe blacks face a lot of discrimination in society, compared to roughly two-thirds (65 percent) who say they do not. Majorities of political independents (58 percent) and Democrats (77 percent) agree blacks experience a great deal of discrimination.
“Mirroring Republican attitudes, white Christian groups tend to reject the notion that black Americans face discrimination in society,” says PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “Six in ten white evangelicals say black Americans do not experience discrimination, while other white Christian groups, including white mainline Protestants and white Catholics, are divided.”
Roughly one-third (36 percent) of white evangelical Protestants believe there is a lot of discrimination against blacks in the U.S. today; 60 percent disagree. White Catholics and white mainline Protestants are divided on whether blacks face discrimination—47 percent and 50 percent, respectively, say they do. Two-thirds (67 percent) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say blacks confront a lot of discrimination.
Discrimination against Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Americans
Most Americans say gay and lesbian (58 percent) and transgender people (62 percent) face a lot of discrimination. Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to perceive discrimination against gay and lesbian people (38 percent vs. 75 percent, respectively) or transgender people (44 percent vs. 77 percent, respectively). However, there are important generational divides: Younger Republicans (age 18-29) are more likely to say gay and lesbian people (50 percent) and transgender people (58 percent) face bias.
“Republicans and Democrats overall have never been more divided, but there are actually signs that younger partisans may be finding some common ground on attitudes about immigrants and gay, lesbian, and transgender people,” says PRRI Research Director Dan Cox. “Republicans under the age of 30 are more likely than older Republicans to believe that immigrants and gay, lesbian, and transgender people experience a significant amount of discrimination.”
Among religious Americans, white Christians are among the least likely to say gay, lesbian, and transgender people currently confront a lot of discrimination in the U.S. Fewer than half of white evangelical Protestants (43 percent) and Mormons (49 percent)—and a slim majority of white Catholics (52 percent) and white mainline Protestants (54 percent)—say gay and lesbian people experience a great deal of discrimination. Yet nearly six in ten (59 percent) young white evangelical Protestants say gay and lesbian people do face substantial discrimination.
Notably, black Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to perceive discrimination against gay, lesbian, or transgender people. Nearly three-quarters of black Americans say gay and lesbian (73 percent) and transgender people (72 percent) face a lot of discrimination.
Discrimination against Immigrants
Americans are more likely to say immigrants experience discrimination than blacks or gay and lesbian people. More than six in ten (63 percent) Americans say immigrants face a lot of discrimination. However, strong partisan differences persist. Only about four in ten (41 percent) Republicans say immigrants experience a lot discrimination in society, compared to roughly twice as many Democrats (78 percent) and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of independents.
In addition to the report, results from the AVA are available via an interactive online map, allowing users to explore religious, political, and demographic attributes, along with attitudes on key issues, for all 50 states, four U.S. Census regions, and 30 major metropolitan areas. Explore the AVA here: http://ava.prri.org/
Because of this survey’s large sample size, data exists for a number of smaller groups that are not typically available with traditional surveys. The topline questionnaire, full methodology, and additional findings and analysis can be found here: https://www.prri.org/research/americans-views-discrimination-immigrants-blacks-lgbt-sex-marriage-immigration-reform/
The 2016 American Values Atlas (AVA) is a project of PRRI. Results for questions on specific issues (e.g. immigration and LGBT issues) are based on a subset of 40,509 telephone interviews (including 24,266 cell phone interviews) conducted between May 18, 2016 and January 10, 2017. Results for all demographic, religious affiliation, and political affiliation questions were based on 101,438 bilingual telephone interviews (including 60,355 cell phone interviews) conducted between January 6, 2016 and January 10, 2017 by professional interviewers under the direction of SSRS. The AVA was made possible by generous grants from The Arcus Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, The Gill Foundation, and The Nathan Cummings Foundation.
PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization specializing in research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.