News and Commentary

Poll: How Do Americans Feel Now About Changing Military Base Names, Reparations, Chokeholds?
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. McEnany stated that President Trump does not support any name changes for U.S. military bases named after Confederate generals. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday found that a majority of Americans oppose the idea of renaming U.S. military bases named after Confederate leaders, a vast majority still oppose paying reparations to descendants of slaves, and a strong majority support banning police use of chokeholds.

The new study comes amid heightened calls for the removal of Confederate statues and the renaming of military bases, as well as a growing “Defund the Police” movement that includes demands for radical police reform and even the outright “abolishing” of departments.

The poll of 727 adults (conducted June 17 -18 and including “oversamples of black and Hispanic respondents”) asked Americans if they are opposed to or support “changing the names of U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate leaders.”

A total of 56% said they oppose changing base names, including 59% of Independents. A total of 42% of respondents support the idea, including about two-thirds (67%) of African-Americans and 54% of Hispanics. A strong majority of Democrats back the idea (71%), while only 13% of Republicans and 40% of Independents support it. Younger respondents also tend to support the idea more than older respondents. A slight majority (55%) of 18-29-year-olds support it, in comparison to just 32% of the 65+ demographic.

NBC found that nearly three-fourths of respondents were against the idea of reparations for slavery. Asked if the U.S. should “pay money to black Americans whose ancestors were slaves as compensations for that slavery,” 73% said no.

As with renaming bases, race appears to play a significant role in respondents’ positions. While only 14% of white Americans support reparations, 72% of African Americans support it and 34% of Hispanics support the idea. Democrats are the most divided on the issue: 54% support, 45% reject, while 94% of Republicans and 82% of Independents oppose it.

ABC News provides some context for the findings:

Although we have seen large changes in opinion on a wide variety of issues revolving around race in America, there has been only a slight change in attitudes about reparations over the last 20 years. An ABC News/Washington Post poll from June 1997 found that only 19% of Americans backed providing black Americans whose ancestors were slaves with payments, while 77% opposed it. In 1997, 65% of blacks and a meager 10% of whites supported reparations, a split that is about the same as this week’s poll.

The one issue that received majority support overall was police chokeholds. A total of 63% of respondents support “banning the use of chokeholds by police officers,” among them 51% of Republicans, 71% of Democrats, 63% of Independents, 63% of white Americans, 71% of African Americans, and 56% of Hispanics. The most divided of the groups were Republican, 48% of whom oppose it.

The poll was conducted from June 17 through 18, 2020. It involved 727 adult respondents, and “oversamples of black and Hispanic respondents” (sampling error: 4.1 points). (More details here.)

Related: WATCH: Rioters Set American Flag On Fire On Top Of George Washington Statue, Tear It Down

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