Should the federal government apologize to black Americans for the slavery that once existed in this country? Americans divide on the question, with most blacks supporting an apology and a narrow majority of whites opposed.
Overall, 42 percent say the government should apologize and 49 percent say it should not. The sharpest division in this ABCNEWS.com poll is along racial lines — 53 percent of whites oppose an apology, while two-thirds of blacks favor one.
Still, opposition to issuing an apology has eased somewhat, down from 56 percent in 1997. And the change was greatest among whites: A seven-point gain in support for an apology, and a 12-point drop in opposition.
The issue regained attention last month when Rep. Tony Hall, D-Ohio, introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for a congressional apology to black Americans for slavery. (Hall unsuccessfully sought an apology three years ago.) And last week a Connecticut newspaper, The Hartford Courant, issued a front-page apology for profiting from ads for the sale of slaves.
Among groups, apart from blacks, support for an apology commands a majority of younger adults, age 18 to 34. It’s also higher, but not quite a majority, among Democrats, lower-income and less-educated Americans.
This ABCNEWS.com survey was conducted by telephone from June 28 to July 9, 2000, among a random national sample of 2,018 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Fieldwork by ICR- International Communications Research of Media, Pa.