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America's Best Days

Most Democrats See America as Unfair and Discriminatory

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a majority of voters believe they live in a country that is generally fair, but most Democrats say America is basically unfair and discriminatory.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters say American society is generally fair and decent. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree, saying America is basically unfair and discriminatory, while 8% say they are not sure.

Among Democrats, however, these numbers are exactly reversed, with 54% saying American society is basically unfair and discriminatory and just 38% who say America is fair and decent. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republican voters say America is fair and decent, as do 51% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Voter responses to this question haven’t changed much during Donald Trump’s presidency. Our December 2016 survey found 61% believed America was fair and decent, but Democrats were more likely to view the country as unfair and discriminatory.

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The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on January 10-11, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Older voters are much more likely to say American society is generally fair and decent, while most voters under 40 see the country as unfair and discriminatory. Men are more likely than women to say the country is generally fair; a racial divide is also apparent, with 62% of whites saying America is fair and decent, while 59% of black voters say America is unfair and discriminatory.

Historically, voters were most likely to say American society is generally fair and decent in President Obama’s first term, when that number peaked at 74% in February 2010. By February 2016, however, the number who said the country is generally fair and decent had declined to 54%. The decline was greater among women and minority voters.

A growing mood of pessimism is apparent since Election Day, with just 23% of voters saying America is heading in the right direction.

A majority of voters are against proposals to have reparation payments for slavery funded by U.S. taxpayers, but think such payments are likely to be enacted now that Joe Biden has been elected President and Democrats control Congress.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on January 10-11, 2021 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

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To learn more about our methodology, click here.