Living with Our Differences   /   Spring 2001   /    Survey Data

Survey Data on Diversity and Race

IASC Staff

A common clipboard. Via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1996 the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture (named The Post-Modernity Project, at the time) joined forces with the Gallup Organization of Princeton, New Jersey, to conduct one of the most comprehensive surveys ever undertaken of American political culture. Based on 2,000 face-to-face interviews, each of which lasted over an hour, the Survey of American Political Culture provides a fascinating, empirically rich portrait of American public opinion. What follows are excerpts from the Executive Summary of the survey that focus on findings related to diversity and race.


Race in America, it is often observed, is a powder keg of incendiary difference. No one would deny that deep tensions exist. Surprisingly, however, the Survey of American Political Culture shows how much African Americans and whites, for example, agree with each other, at least on matters of political culture. On the whole, African Americans and whites are equally civic-minded and committed to both the American dream and the political system. They embrace middle-class morality at roughly the same levels, and almost the same level of religious commitment and traditional piety. Neither group is more or less pessimistic about America or American institutions, and neither group is more or less disaffected from the government or its leaders.

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