Most Americans believe white nationalism poses at least a somewhat serious threat to the country, a HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. The survey was taken in the wake of the El Paso, Texas, shooting, carried out by a gunman with white nationalist sentiments, and close to the second anniversary of 2017′s violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A 56% majority of Americans say that white nationalism poses a somewhat or very serious threat to the U.S., similar to the 57% who said it posed such a threat following the Charlottesville rally, and up from the 46% who said the same last August. Thirty-seven percent currently call white nationalism a “very” serious threat, up from 32% immediately following Charlottesville and a low of 26% last year.
There’s a significant racial gap in the level of concern: Black Americans are 27 percentage points likelier than white Americans to say it’s a very serious threat. But there’s an even broader partisan gap ― one that’s widened in the past two years, almost entirely from rising concerns among Democrats. In 2017, Democrats were 30 percentage points likelier than Republicans to call white nationalism a very serious threat. Today, that divide has grown to 49 points.
Over the same time period, the gap between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump voters has grown from 49 points to 61 points.
Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy” in a public comment following the shooting, but didn’t acknowledge the way his own anti-immigration rhetoric was echoed in the El Paso shooter’s manifesto. In rallies held since 2017, Trump has used the words “predator,” “invasion,” “alien,” “killer,” “criminal” and “animal” more than 500 times while discussing immigration, according to USA Today.
As in previous polling, about half the American public considers Trump to be a racist and an inciter of racial tensions, with a minority of Americans coming to his defense. In the latest poll, Americans say, 47% to 38%, that President Trump is racist, and 52% to 37% that he has inflamed racial divisions in the country. Only about a quarter say they believe Trump personally opposes white nationalism, while 44% say he personally supports it, and the rest that he doesn’t have a strong opinion either way. (Unlike other questions, this one didn’t offer respondents an explicit “unsure” option.)
Americans say by a 21-point margin, 41% to 20%, that Trump encourages his supporters to act violently rather than discourages them (the rest said he does neither or that they were unsure). By a more modest 6-point margin, 31% to 25%, they also say that Democratic politicians are more likely to encourage violence than to condemn it.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Aug. 5-6 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.
Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.