New poll shows changing sentiment on racism among Pa. voters | The Numbers Racket

Elk County residents gathered in St. Marys, PA on Sunday, June 7 for a community gathering against racism. Source: Rural PA for Racial Equality Facebook, shared with permission.

A new poll from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster is shedding light on how Pennsylvanians view racism. 

The July 2020 poll, which surveyed 667 Pennsylvania registered voters, including 324 Democrats, 271 Republicans, and 72 independents found some changing sentiment on racial issues, compared to the responses from its Jan. 2020 poll. 

According to July polling data, 73 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania said they were angry that racism exists. This is a slight decline from January, where 75 percent said the same. 

Those who somewhat agreed with the statement held steady from January at 16 percent. 

Those  who somewhat disagreed with the statement made up 5 percent of responses. Another 5 percent said they strongly disagreed with the statement: I am angry that racism exists. Two percent said they did not know. 

When asked about white privilege, respondents varied greatly. 

Thirty-eight percent said they strongly agreed with the statement, “White people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.” 

This is a 5 percent increase from January. Another 24 percent said they somewhat agreed with that statement, compared with 28 percent just seven months ago. 

Thirteen percent of respondents somewhat disagreed, while 24 percent said they strongly disagreed. Both percentages reflect a decrease from the January poll data when 16 percent somewhat disagreed and 22 percent strongly disagreed. 

The poll also found shifting sentiments on racial issues in the United States. 

According to the July poll, 6 percent of respondents said racial problems in the U.S. are rare, isolated situations, compared with 8 percent in January. 

14% … said they somewhat agree.

18% … said they somewhat disagree.

60% … said they strongly disagree.

2% … said they did not know. 

One percent of respondents said they strongly agreed with the statement, “I am fearful of people of other races.” Another 4 percent said they somewhat agreed, a 1 percent increase from January. 

The majority of respondents (81%) said they strongly disagreed with the statement and 14 percent somewhat disagreed. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.