2019 Research on Perspectives About Diversity and the Conservative Movement

As a part of our commitment to promoting a healthy, diverse, and resilient democracy, Democracy Fund Voice partnered with Echelon Insights to better understand the views and values that drive Republicans to meaningfully engage in conversations about pluralism and the future of America. The project aimed to answer an urgent question: do conservatives believe in a conservative movement as diverse as our nation?

The political right skews whiter, older, and more male at a time when America is becoming more diverse and younger. It is critical to unpack how those on the right think about and can meaningfully discuss “diversity” within their own political family. With a rapid increase of bigoted rhetoric in public discussions towards immigrants, Muslim Americans, and people of color, understanding how conservative political leaders view diversity is especially vital. A shocking number of policymakers and government officials have failed to speak out against such rhetoric, and the number of those who have agreed or encouraged prejudiced views is more disturbing still.

Yet, the findings of the study indicate a majority of Republicans consider increased diversity within their party valuable.

It should be noted that several answers showed discrepancies between the views of white Republicans and African-American or Hispanic Republicans. White Republicans generally viewed the issue of diversity to be of lower priority, and expressed lower support for policies benefitting minority groups, than African-American or Hispanic Republicans.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Republicans do not generally oppose increasing diversity within the party, and believe it is in line with their values as a movement, but it is not a high priority.
  • Republicans see the value of diversity within organizations, and are willing to believe that one’s race is one factor that influences an individual’s worldview and perspective.
  • Republicans generally say they are comfortable having conversations about race, but acknowledge they are less comfortable discussing race with people who do not share their race. They believe boosting diversity in the party will make it easier to connect to more people.

The methodology for this research included:

In-depth interviews with GOP and conservative leaders (April and May 2019)

QualBoards of white, African-American, and Latino conservatives (April 2019)

Survey of N = 1000 Republican Voters Nationwide with over-samples to achieve N = 250 Hispanic/Latino and N = 250 African American Republican Voters (conducted online via Dynata panel, May 9 – May 14, 2019)

The full summary and key findings can be found here.

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