Government

Poll suggests hate becoming more normal among younger Americans

Participants of the D.C. United Against Hate rally gather at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken
Participants of the D.C. United Against Hate rally gather at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Astrid Riecken

CEDAR RAPIDS — More than three-fifths of Americans say it’s unacceptable to express hate in public, according to a national poll.

That same survey found young people and those without religious affiliation were more likely to report hating someone or some entity.

“It’s encouraging that 68 percent said it’s not OK to express hate in public,” Peter Hanson, political science professor at Grinnell College, said about the results of the poll.

“Their voices are loud,” pollster J. Ann Selzer said

But of the some 26 percent who told Selzer and Co. they approved of public expressions of hate, pollster J. Ann Selzer said, “Their voices are loud.”

To a large degree, hate was political. Thirty-two percent of those responding to the Grinnell College National Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 24-27 said they hated a politician and 26 percent hated a political party.

Eighteen percent said they hated the news media or a news source. Less than 10 percent of the respondents reported hating family members, neighbors or co-workers.

Although the fact that half of Americans said they don’t hate, it was unsettling to Selzer that the other half reported hate toward a person, group or organization.

“It really struck me with where we are with civility,” she said.

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For Hanson, the “normalization of hate” among younger adults was startling, especially when compared to older generations. A majority of respondents younger than 35 report hate while a majority of those older do not.

“Although 68 percent of Americans still believe it is unacceptable to express feelings of hate in a public manner, the increase in reported hate among youth could signal that our already-contentious political sphere is set to become even more polarized,” Hanson said.

In addition, a majority of those who claim no religious affiliation — 58 percent — reported feeling hate toward at least one group or individual.

Hate, often expressed through social media, can have a “poisoning effect,” Hanson said, adding that the results suggest “it might become more common to express hate.”

Full results of the Grinnell College National Poll can be seen at www.grinnell.edu.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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