While critical race theory is unpopular with most Americans, it's supported by an overwhelming majority of Democrats, according to a new poll.
The Economist, in conjunction with YouGov, released a wide-ranging poll Wednesday that asked Americans for their opinions on a variety of issues. One question asked respondents, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of critical race theory?” Only respondents who answered in the affirmative when asked if they knew what critical race theory was were asked the follow-up questions about their views on the ideology.
Christopher Rufo, a writer, filmmaker and researcher who has studied the issue extensively, defines critical race theory as “an academic discipline that holds that the United States is a nation founded on white supremacy and oppression, and that these forces are still at the root of our society.” According to Rufo, an outspoken opponent of critical race theory.
“Critical race theorists believe that American institutions, such as the Constitution and legal system, preach freedom and equality, but are mere ‘camoflauges’ for racial discrimination,” According to Rufo, an outspoken opponent of the theory.
“They believe that racism is a constant, universal condition: it simply becomes more subtle, sophisticated, and insidious over the course of history,” he added. “In simple terms, critical race theory reformulates the old Marxist dichotomy of oppressor and oppressed, replacing the class categories of bourgeoisie and proletariat with the identity categories of white and black. But the basic conclusion is the same: in order to liberate man, society must be fundamentally transformed through moral, economic, and political revolution.”
The survey by The Economist, which did not provide an explicit definition of critical race theory, found that just 38% of Americans said they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of critical race theory, with 25% saying they have a “very favorable” view of the ideology and 13% describing their view of critical race theory as “somewhat favorable.” Meanwhile, a majority of Americans (53%) have a “very unfavorable” view of critical race theory. The remaining 5% have a “somewhat unfavorable” view of critical race theory.
Additionally, the poll asked respondents if they believed teaching critical race theory was “good for America” or “bad for America.” A majority of Americans (55%) said they thought teaching critical race theory was “bad for America” while 37% expressed the opposite view. The remaining 8% concluded that it was “neither good nor bad for America.”
Democrats are the group with the most favorable view of critical race theory, with 86% expressing a somewhat or very favorable view of the ideology. A majority (58%) of Democrats have a “very favorable” view of critical race theory and an additional 28% hold a “somewhat favorable” view.
Similarly, 85% of Democrats believe that teaching critical race theory was “good for America,” compared to just 5% who said it was “bad for America.” Self-described liberals also demonstrated support for critical race theory, with 82% describing it as very or somewhat favorable and 89% believing that it is “good for America.”
In addition to Democrats and liberals, majorities of African Americans (68%) and those between the ages of 30 and 44 (52%) hold a favorable view of critical race theory. A larger majority of African Americans (75%) believe that teaching critical race theory is beneficial to the U.S., while 52% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 44 hold the same view.
A majority of Hispanics (53%) hold an unfavorable view of critical race theory, along with supermajorities of white men without college degrees (74%), white women without college degrees (71%), and white men with college degrees (65%). White women with college degrees were split on critical race theory, with 52% expressing an unfavorable view and 44% holding a favorable view.
Hispanics were divided on whether they believed teaching critical race theory was positive or negative for the country. Thirty-five percent of Hispanics believe that teaching critical race theory is “good for America” while 40% have the opposite opinion. Twenty-five percent of Hispanics told pollsters that teaching critical race theory was “neither good nor bad for America.”
Majorities of whites of all education levels maintained that teaching critical race theory was “bad for America,” with that view most predominant among whites without college degrees of both genders (70%), followed by college-educated white men (62%), and college-educated white women (51%).
Independents also hold overwhelmingly negative views of critical race theory, with 76% describing their opinion of the ideology as somewhat or very unfavorable. Meanwhile, 18% of independents think teaching critical race theory is “good for America” as opposed to 72% who feel otherwise.
Additionally, a majority of self-described moderates also expressed concern about critical race theory, with 54% holding an unfavorable view of the ideology and 52% believing that teaching it was “bad for America.” No groups were more opposed to critical race theory than Republicans and conservatives.
A whopping 91% of Republicans reported holding an unfavorable opinion of critical race theory, while 88% believed teaching it in schools was “bad for America.” Similarly, 91% of self-described conservatives hold an unfavorable view of critical race theory and 90% believed that teaching it in schools was “bad for America.”
As reflected in the results of the survey, conservatives have emerged as outspoken critics of critical race theory, with many states passing laws to ban the teaching of the ideology in their schools. States that have passed such legislation include Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma.
Critical race theory has been a frequent topic of discussion on American college campuses for years, but received heightened attention in politics and education following the death of George Floyd in police custody last year and the resulting unrest that ranged from peaceful protests to violent riots that led to the deaths of more than 20 people and over $2 billion in the destruction of property.
Over the past year, some have argued that there is a need for educators to address systemic racism and that led some schools to embrace controversial curriculum such as “The 1619 Project.” Many parents have shared their opposition to the inclusion of critical race theory in schools.
The Economist/YouGov survey questioned 1,500 adults between June 13-15 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org