The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago does continual polling on many questions called the General Social Survey. And it shows that while American society as a whole still buys into racist stereotypes, Republicans are far more likely to hold such views.
Because the survey is so extensive, it can drill down on issues that don’t feature in regular national polls. Among them are racial attitudes and views of how the races are different from one another.
And something happened in the newly released 2016 data: The partisan gaps among whites were as wide or wider than we’ve seen since the survey first started asking most of these questions in the 1990s. It’s not that white Republicans’ views of African Americans have dimmed so much as that they haven’t kept pace with those of white Democrats. But in some cases, the GOP has moved in the other direction.
The biggest yawning gap between Democrats and Republicans is on the issue of motivation and will power. The GSS asks whether African Americans are worse off economically “because most just don’t have the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty?”
A majority — 55 percent — of white Republicans agreed with this statement, compared to 26 percent of white Democrats…
The survey also asks people to rate the races on how hard-working or lazy they are, which allows us to compare whether people rate some higher than others.
In this case, 42 percent of white Republicans rated African Americans as being lazier than whites, versus 24 percent of white Democrats.
It tends to be conservatives who hold to the Just World Hypothesis, the idea that the world is basically fair and just, and therefore everyone tends to get pretty much what they deserve in life. So if they’re poor, it’s because they’re lazy; if they’re rich, it’s because they work hard. It’s victim-blaming turned into a quasi-religious rationale that excuses away suffering so they don’t have to feel any concern over other people.