Washington, DC, July 15, 2021 - A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that less than half of Americans are familiar with both critical race theory and the surrounding debates in their community, with three in ten saying that they haven’t heard of either. The poll also finds that while a majority of Americans are in favor of teaching high school students about the impacts of slavery and racism in the U.S., support is much lower among Republicans than Democrats.
1. Forty-three percent of Americans say they are at least somewhat familiar with critical race theory, while three in ten say they have never heard of it.
- A similar percentage say they are familiar with debates over critical race theory in their state or community (41%). Americans ages 18-34 (47%) are more likely than those ages 55+ (34%) to be familiar with debates over critical race theory.
- Americans are even less familiar with The New York Times’ 1619 Project (24%) and the 1776 Commission launched by the Trump Administration (22%), with more than half saying they haven’t heard of either.
2. A majority of Americans support teaching high school students about the impacts of slavery (78%) and racism (73%) in the United States.
- Partisan divides exist on both issues. More than eight in ten Democrats support teaching about the impacts of slavery (86%) and racism (85%), while support amongst Republicans is much lower (73% and 58%, respectively).
- There is less support amongst Americans for state laws banning the teaching of critical race theory (35%) and the New York Times 1619 Project (24%) in public schools.
- Partisan divides also exist here, with Republicans more likely to support these bans than Democrats.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 12 – 13, 2021 on behalf of Thomson Reuters. For this survey, a sample of 1,004 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 453 Democrats, 377 Republicans, and 115 Independents.
The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,004, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.8 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 10.4 percentage points for Independents.
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