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Americans Dont Want Books Banned, But Theyre Divided Over What Schools Teach

Welcome to Pollapalooza, our weekly polling roundup.

Recently, a graphic that listed books banned in Florida libraries and schools began making the rounds on Twitter. The 25 titles, spanning classics from To Kill a Mockingbird to A Wrinkle with time, caught the eyes of several, including Randi Weingarten, who’s president of the American Federation of Teachers, a significant teachers labor union in the U.S.

Only 1 problem: The list was fake. There is absolutely no banned-book list at hawaii level in Florida.

This isnt to state that books havent been banned in Florida public schools. Earlier this season, the nonprofit organization PEN America reported that between July 2021 and March 2022, theyd found over 200 cases of book banning across seven Florida school districts. Its that these bans usually dont include books prefer to Kill a Mockingbird. Rather, most of the books that banned in a few districts in Florida and elsewhere are books that tackle race, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Lately, Republican-controlled states like Florida have observed increased efforts to ban books that touch on these issues. In 2019, the American Library Association tracked 377 challenges to materials in schools, libraries and universities, and in 2021, the ALA tracked 729 a rise of over 90 percent. So when we go to a fresh academic year, some students already are attending schools where their reading options are actually more restricted. In Keller, Texas, for instance, over 40 books have already been banned this season, including a graphic-novel adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank in addition to multiple texts with LGBTQ characters. And in a few places, there arent book bans, by itself, but community members can challenge any book taught in schools they find to be inappropriate.

Yet polls claim that most Americans arent up to speed with banning books, not those on controversial topics. In February, a CBS News/YouGov poll discovered that 87 percent of Americans opposed bans on books that discuss race, and exactly the same share opposed bans on books depicting slavery. This aligns with two other polls out of this year: A UChicago Harris/AP-NORC survey from March discovered that only 12 percent of Americans supported schools banning books that concern divisive topics, and a March poll by Hart Research Associates/North Star Opinion Research, with respect to the ALA, discovered that 71 percent of voters opposed efforts to eliminate books from public libraries.

Actually, the ALA poll found little difference between Republicans (70 percent) and Democrats (75 percent) on the problem. Similarly, that CBS News/YouGov poll discovered that Americans on both sides of the political aisle were against banning books, though it also found stark differences when it found how issues of race ought to be taught in the classroom, and its own this divide which has muddied the banned-book debate currently raging in schools.

For example, despite the fact that there isnt evidence that critical race theory, an academic legal framework asserting that racism is systemic and embedded in lots of American institutions, has been taught in classrooms over the U.S., many parents come to mind that it’s being taught because of Republican politicians and conservatives messaging on this issue. So when that CBS/YouGov poll found, Republicans employ a negative view of critical race theory, with 86 percent viewing it unfavorably, weighed against 81 percent of Democrats who viewed it favorably. Moreover, in a YouGov poll published this week, Americans were asked how concerned these were about 17 different issues facing their local schools, and Republicans said these were most concerned that students were being indoctrinated with liberal ideas (62 percent), while Democrats said these were most worried about book bans (57 percent).

But regardless of the partisan differences over education in public areas schools, it isnt currently a high issue for most voters in this years midterms. Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center asked registered voters concerning the need for 15 issues with their vote this fall, even though 58 percent did consider education essential, that result was clustered among several others like gun policy (62 percent), voting policies (59 percent) and Supreme Court appointments (58 percent). The No. 1 issue was the economy, with 77 percent saying it had been very important with their vote.

Ultimately, education might not be the very best priority that Americans be prepared to influence their vote this November, nonetheless it remains a controversial topic. And when the overwhelming unpopularity of book bans is any measure, the problem could still influence how voters make their decisions.

Other polling bites

  • A YouGov poll conducted Aug. 24 discovered that over 1 / 2 of Americans strongly (37 percent) or somewhat strongly supported (20 percent) President Bidens recent decision to forgive $10,000 of education loan debt for Americans earning significantly less than $125,000. Support rose to 80 percent among Democrats, while only 35 percent of Republicans supported your choice. Opinions were also skewed heavily by age, with 30- to 44-year-old Americans voicing probably the most support (66 percent) and the ones over 65 probably to oppose the news headlines.
  • With regards to eating dinner out and how Americans obtain groceries, concerns concerning the pandemic largely appear to have abated. Eating out is on the rebound, with 83 percent saying they now eat at restaurants monthly or more, in comparison to 87 percent in 2019 and 74 percent in 2021, in accordance with a July 5-26 Gallup survey. Meanwhile, virtually all Americans also said they look for groceries personally at the very least weekly (82 percent) or monthly (15 percent). Thats much like pre-pandemic data, even though coronavirus does appear to have changed at the very least some Americans grocery habits once and for all: Twenty-eight percent now say they now order groceries online at least one time per month, up slightly from this past year (23 percent) and considerably from 2019 (11 percent).
  • Following Kansass referendum on abortion earlier this month, a Navigator Research poll discovered that an obvious majority (60 percent) of Americans self-identified as pro-choice, while no more than a third defined as pro-life. Notably, theres a definite divide among racial groups, though, with a lesser share of white Americans (57 percent) who have been pro-abortion-rights in comparison to Black Americans (65 percent), Hispanic Americans (66 percent) and Asian American/Pacific Islander Americans (68 percent). And unsurprisingly, there continue being party divides, although gender can be an important factor among independents. Asked where theyd stand in case a similar referendum occurred within their own state, Democratic men (87 percent), Democratic women (85 percent) and independent women (75 percent) were a lot more more likely to say theyd vote and only protecting abortion rights than independent men (48 percent), Republican women (40 percent) and Republican men (35 percent).
  • While a Morning Consult analysis from this past year suggested reality TV is rising in popularity, recent data from YouGov found a split in whether Americans prefer watching it or potentially starring inside it. No more than a fifth said theyd be very (10 percent) or somewhat interested (11 percent) in appearing on a dating reality show, instead of 62 percent who have been not interested at all. Those numbers tick up just a little in the context of a makeover reality show: Thirty-two percent said theyd be very or somewhat interested versus 49 percent who voiced no interest at all. And enthusiasm trends upward a lot more for home-renovation reality shows, with 1 / 2 of Americans saying theyd be thinking about participating and only 34 percent reporting no interest at all. So much for Bachelor Nation.

Biden approval

In accordance with FiveThirtyEights presidential approval tracker,1 41.5 percent of Americans approve of the work Biden does as president, while 53.8 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -12.3 points). At the moment the other day, 40.5 percent approved and 54.8 percent disapproved (a net approval rating of -14.3 points). A month ago, Biden had an approval rating of 37.7 percent and a disapproval rating of 57.1 percent, for a net approval rating of -19.4 points.

Generic ballot

Inside our average of polls of the generic congressional ballot,2 Democrats currently lead by 0.4 percentage points (44.0 percent to 43.6 percent). Yesterday, Democrats led Republicans by 0.5 points (43.9 percent to 43.4 percent). At the moment last month, voters preferred Republicans by 1.1 points (44.2 percent to 43.1 percent).

Zoha Qamar can be an ABC News fellow.

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