Voters are sharply divided along political parties over which groups of Americans face discrimination. A new poll by the Wall Street Journal finds Republicans say discrimination is often aimed at Christians and white people. More than 80% of Democrats say Latino, Jewish, gay, and Black people face more prejudice.
Survey results show that Democrats and Republicans use different lenses to view the privileges and challenges of various groups in American society. This explains some heated emotions fueling recent political clashes over gay rights, religious liberty, and race.
Voters in both parties are divided, for example, over whether white or Black Americans face more significant problems with discrimination. Fifty-nine percent of Republicans in the survey said white people face prejudice and discrimination, compared with 21% of Democrats who answered the same.
In contrast, 88% of Democrats say Black people face prejudice or discrimination, compared to Republicans at, 49% who said so.
The results help explain the heightened feelings around debates over classroom instruction about discrimination and race. At least a dozen of states, primarily led by Republicans, have issued rules or passed laws regulating classroom teaching on gender and race, with some including provisions that ban teaching the U.S. is fundamentally racist or that a person should feel guilty because of actions in the past by members of that race.
Opponents of those provisions say the laws inhibit teachers from presenting the history of America’s racial oppression. Gay rights advocates and some religious groups clashed in recent weeks of legislation that codified the right to same-sex marriage. President Biden signed the legislation into law this month.
Republicans believe discrimination is a problem for Christians, Dems do not
In the survey, a large portion of Republicans, around 61%, said discrimination is a problem for Christians in the country. Only 25% of Democrats agreed. At the same time, 38% of Republicans and 85% of Democrats say lesbian and gay Americans face discrimination.
The Journal survey found that Americans were divided much more by political party than by age or race when asked which groups face discrimination. Black respondents stood out in one way: They were more likely than Latino or white respondents to say various groups faced discrimination.
More Black respondents, 72%, said discrimination was an issue for Latino people than 59% of Latino respondents who said the same about themselves.
According to a professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, Michael Tesler, the finding is consistent with research that found Black Americans were most likely to see signs of discrimination against other groups and racism as structural in society.
The Wall Street Journal poll survey was conducted December 3-7 by cellphone, landline, and text invitations to participate in the poll online. The margin of error for the 606 Republicans is 4 points plus or minus, and for the 624 Democrats was 3.9 percentage points in the survey that included 1,500 voters.