Poll Asks A Confusing Question On White Supremacy, Assumes Americans Support It

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A Tuesday poll on American opinions on white supremacy made it seem like some Americans were okay with white supremacist views, but failed to mention that the question left the results up to interpretation.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll surveyed more than 1,000 American adults and asked their opinions on the Charlottesville, Va. riots and President Donald Trump’s response to them. One question in the poll asked respondents, “Do you yourself think it’s acceptable or unacceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views? Do you feel that way strongly, or somewhat?”

The problem with the poll is that there are two equal ways to interpret the results, based on the question respondents were asked. Essentially, the poll was asking them if they explicitly supported white supremacist beliefs or the poll was asking if they supported a person’s right to believe whatever they want.

However, the ABC News write-up didn’t account for the second interpretation, instead choosing to characterize the results as some Americans condoning white supremacist and/or neo-Nazi principles.

“Additionally, 9 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll call it acceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views, equivalent to about 22 million Americans. A similar number, 10 percent, say they support the so-called alt-right movement, while 50 percent oppose it,” the ABC News write-up of the poll noted.

The overwhelming majority, 83 percent, believe that it is unacceptable for people to hold neo-Nazi views, while 9 percent responded that it was acceptable to hold those views.

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