'American Rage' Survey Shows Consensus in Support of Gay Rights
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Americans are angry about society's mistreatment of LGBT people, and not about same-sex marriage, according to a widely publicized new poll from Esquire Magazine and NBC News that attempts to gauge anger in the US.
According to the survey, titled "American Rage," only 22 percent of respondents said they'd be very angry or somewhat angry about a hypothetical headline reading, "More Than 100,000 Couples Have Wed Since Supreme Court Ruling."
Meanwhile, 41 percent said they believe LGBT people have a right to be angry about how they're treated, 45 percent said they're angry themselves about how LGBT people are treated, and only 24 percent said they supported Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Those results led The Washington Post to call LGBT equality "the social-justice issue that garnered the most agreement" in the wide-ranging survey, beating out African-American, immigrants' and women's rights.
Not surprisingly, support appeared more tepid for transgender rights, with 41 percent saying they'd be very angry or somewhat angry about a headline reading "Caitlyn Jenner's Wedding of the Century!" — although that result could also reflect a general aversion to tabloid-style celebrity gossip journalism.
In any case, the consensus in support for LGBT rights was one of the few bright spots in the survey, which showed that half of Americans are angrier than they were a year ago — and in many cases apparently for the wrong reasons.
The poll found that whites and Republicans are the angriest groups in America. Seventy-three percent of whites get angry at least once a day, compared to 56 percent of blacks and 66 percent of Hispanics. And 77 percent of Republicans get angry at least once a day, compared to 67 percent of Democrats, according to the survey.
But much of this rage among whites and Republicans appears to be unjustified and based on the false perception that they're somehow being persecuted.
"From their views on the state of the American dream (dead) and America's role in the world (not what it used to be) to how their life is working out for them (not quite what they'd had in mind), a plurality of whites tends to view life through a veil of disappointment," Esquire writes. "When we cross-tabulate these feelings with reports of daily anger (which are higher among whites than nonwhites), we see the anger of perceived disenfranchisement — a sense that the majority has become a persecuted minority, the bitterness of a promise that didn't pan out — rather than actual hardship."
Although blacks undboutedly face more economic hardship and discrimination than whites, the survey found them to be far more upbeat about their financial situations and the general condition of the country.
"Their optimism in the face of adversity suggests that hope, whatever its other virtues, remains a potent antidote to anger," Esquire writes.
Other disturbing findings from the survey include:
• Sixty-three percent of respondents say they believe the "American Dream" — the idea that if you work hard enough, you'll succeed — is either no longer true or never was a true.
• Fifty-three percent of respondents say they're worse off financially than they thought they'd be when they were younger, and whites are more likely than blacks to chalk up their current financial circumstances to things being "harder today" than "wrong choices."
• Three out of five whites think police killings are isolated incidents, while three out of four blacks believe they're part of a pattern.
• Whites are far more likely than blacks to say race relations have become worse since President Barack Obama was elected. "One possible explanation: Whites are down on race relations because of they way they believe they are treated, not because of the way blacks are treated," Esquire writes.
• Out of 11 hypothetical slogans for protest signs, the most popular among Republicans were "Taxed Enough Already," "Make English America's Official Language" and "Abortion Is Murder." (The most popular among Democrats were "We Don't Build Walls. We Tear Them Down," "Taxed Enough Already" and "Don't Tell Me How to Dress. Tell Them Not to Rape."
The poll, which surveyed 3,257 adults in November, measured anger according to the frequency with which respondents reported hearing or reading something that made them angry.
In response to the survey, MSNBC decided to ask Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders supporters what makes them angry. Watch the report below.