Attitudes on Race (Survey Data)

There is a reason why one can safely make assumptions about racist attitudes (unfortunately) in much of American society as data from the 2012 American National Elections Study demonstrates (as summarized by political scientist Tobin Grant at his blog, Corner of Church and State:  Poll: Most whites say blacks are lazier or less intelligent than whites).

Here are two of the graphs that Grant generated from the data:

stereotypes work ethic


stereotypes intelligence

Follow the link and read the whole thing.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Race and Politics, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. An Interested Party says:

    Can we cut the $hit and just admit that racism is still alive and well? Maybe it isn’t as bad as some think but it certainly is worse than some others think…

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Ok, now do the survey again, but use “men” vs. “women”. Bet the same sort of results happens.

  3. JohnMcC says:

    As always, the devil is bound to be in the details. The linked article didn’t give any specific ‘cites’ or links to the original survey. I suppose I could googleit ™ but that would call for time and attention that I would rather use other ways. So I am given two choices: One being to take the time to really dig into this because it is so close to what I would have believed that I need to show I’m not having some sort of confirmation bias; Or I can tag the subject with a little ‘suspicious/untrustworthy-but-interesting tag and go on with my day.

    If the survey is as advertised, I’d be fascinated by the internals, BTW.

  4. LaMont says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Thats because sexism still exist. It may not be as bad as in the days of “Mad Men” but it is still a significant factor. Just see today’s politics around birth control and abortion. Sexism is as alive today as racism is.

  5. @JohnMcC: While I agree that suspicion is always a good default position, I am not sure I understand your specific skepticism here.

  6. BTW: ANES home is here and the data is here.

  7. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am not sure I understand your specific skepticism here.

    I can’t speak for JohnMcC, but my personal specific skepticism is that I’m a data analysis professional, and thus I know that many (if not most) surveys are crap — even the ones published in respectable journals. Without seeing the details, there’s no way of knowing whether this specific survey was crap or not.

    I followed the link you gave above (thank you). A couple of points:

    1. It’s a very long survey, mostly about voting behavior and political views. By the time you get to questions about race, the interviewee is not only tired, but has also been primed in numerous ways.
    2. The questions about race are (to my eye) much less neutrally posed than the political questions that precede them. For example:

    Some people feel that the government in Washington should make every effort to improve the social and economic position of blacks. (Suppose these people are at one end of a scale, at point 1.) Others feel that the government should not make any special effort to help blacks because they should help themselves. (Suppose these people are at the other end, at point 7.) And, of course, some other people have opinions somewhere in between, at points 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Where would you place yourself on this scale, or haven’t you thought much about this?

    “The government in Washington” is a very different agent, emotionally speaking, from (say) “our society” or “the law” — and it will selectively trigger negative reaction from a distinguishable subset of respondents. That’s just one example, but it’s egregious enough that I don’t think I need to dig any deeper.

  8. bill says:

    so even blacks admit that whites work harder, they must be racist.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:


    Jesus, they even put the data in chart form, with pretty pretty colors just so you don’t have to use your head muscles to do some hard book readin’ and you still can’t understand the information presented to you.

    Let me try…

    That middle bar labeled “equal work ethic” is bigger than the other two bars, meaning more blacks (correctly) think white and black people have equal work ethics.

    On the chart showing white prejudice, the “equal work ethic” bar is smaller than the “whites work harder” bar, meaning they are prejudicial f*cktards who have an intellectual capacity similar to yours.

    Hope that clears it up for you.