Despite Critical Race Theory Outrage, Majority of GOP Voters Want History of Racism Taught

Despite widespread criticism among Republican lawmakers and governors over the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) in public schools, a new poll suggests that the majority of GOP voters aren't against their children being taught about the "history of racism" in the classroom.

A poll released by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on Wednesday suggests that more than 5 in 10 Republicans—54 percent of respondents—back public schools teaching the subject. In contrast, 94 percent of Democrats said that they supported teaching about the history of racism.

Meanwhile, when another sample of respondents was prompted on whether they specifically supported CRT being taught to students, 16 percent of Republicans said they supported the idea, 75 percent of Democrats said they were in favor of the practice while 15 percent said they were opposed to the concept.

The independent Monmouth University Polling Institute said their survey was conducted "as a test of message framing," noting that it asked two different questions about "teaching race in public schools." It didn't specify how many people participated in the survey.

Patrick Murray, director of the polling institute, said in a statement that the public "acts on its perceptions of the world around them."

"Whoever controls the message controls how the public will react," he said. "As the huge differences in the poll questions on teaching race show, a negative visceral message can be very powerful in reframing an issue in the public's mind."

Murray added, "The same is true for a massive spending bill as we saw with the talk of 'death panels' during the ACA (Obamacare) debate in 2010."

Critical race theory, which was developed during the 1970s and 1980s, centers on the concept that an individual's race is a defining aspect of their identity. It also centers on the notion that race is socially constructed and racism is systemic in U.S. institutions.

Critics of CRT, which supporters say seeks to combat racism in these institutions, say the movement is racist in itself.

The poll comes as a growing number of Republicans nationwide are pushing to ban the teaching of CRT in public schools. The states of Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas have so far either banned or restrict its teaching in public schools.

In June, former Vice President Mike Pence described the Biden administration's efforts to push the teaching of CRT as a "wholehearted embrace of the radical left's all-encompassing assault on American culture and values."

A rally against "critical race theory" (CRT)
People talk before the start of a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. A poll released by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on Wednesday suggests that the majority of GOP voters aren’t against their children being taught about the “history of racism” in the classroom. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP/Getty Images