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“Prove Us Wrong” Conservative Pollster Defends Provocative Question On Race Relations

The conservative polling organization, that recently ignited a firestorm about the state of race relations in America, fired back at critics on Tuesday.
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The conservative polling organization, that recently ignited a firestorm about the state of race relations in America, fired back at critics on Tuesday.

Rasmussen Reports posted a video in which head pollster Mark Mitchell explained why the firm did its controversial poll, which asked two questions: 1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s OK to be white”; and 2. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: “Black people can be racist, too.”

One upshot of the poll was that 72% of all respondents, and 53% of black respondents, answered that it is “OK to be white.”

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Last Wednesday, when the poll was released, Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip “Dilbert,” lashed out at the other 47% of black respondents, who said it’s “not OK” to be white (26%) or weren’t sure (21%).

In a social media video, Adams, who is white, said, “It makes no sense to help black Americans if you’re white. It’s over. Don’t even think it’s worth trying.” He added that whites should “just get away” from blacks because souring race relations in America “can’t be fixed.”

Subsequently, liberals labeled Adams a racist, and he was dropped by hundreds of newspapers, his agent and the media company that distributed his cartoon.

In Rasmussen’s video on Tuesday, Mitchell said he wasn’t posting to discuss Adams. Instead, he said, he wanted to address “the haters, astroturfers, trolls, anti-polling troglodytes, but also reasonable people with real questions” about the survey.

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Mitchell said one reason Rasmussen polled the “It’s OK to be white” question because race relations are an important issue, and because they are getting worse — about 10 points worse than when Barack Obama was president.

Mitchell highlighted that with answers from another survey last week.

That poll showed 41% of Americans believe race relations are worsening, compared to 5% who said things are getting better.

The poll also found that only 22% rate current race relations as excellent or good, the second-lowest total over the past decade, and down 50% from 2011.

He acknowledged that the question was a white supremacist troll from 4chan.   

Mitchell noted that many critics assailed the poll for having too small a sample of black Americans (117) and Americans overall (1,182).

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He pointed out that many national political polls report results from just 400 respondents. But for remaining doubters, he added, “Fine, go to another pollster and have them prove us wrong.”

“We ask Americans reasonable and relevant questions,” Mitchell continued, “and they happily answer us. I had no problem getting responses to these questions.”

Mitchell closed by inviting critics to “refocus” their energy, meaning away from the criticisms and on the results, and what that might mean going forward.

Interestingly, in the other half of the combustible poll, which has gotten less attention, 79% of all respondents, and 66% of blacks, said that black Americans can be racist too.

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