Americans see Christopher Columbus as more of a villain than a hero

Jamie BallardData Journalist
October 12, 2020, 6:15 PM UTC

October 12 marks Columbus Day, but data from YouGov suggests that not everyone has a favorable view of Christopher Columbus.  

poll of more than 7,000 US adults finds that Americans narrowly view the European explorer as more of a villain (40%) than a hero (32%). Democrats (57%) and Independents (40%) are more likely than  Republicans (11%) to view Columbus as a villain. Two-thirds (66%) of Republicans say he is more of a hero.  

Americans aged 55 and older years old are the only age group that is more likely to see Columbus as a hero (46%) rather than as a villain (28%). Among those who are 54 and younger, more people see Columbus as a villain than not.  

While many view him as one of the bad guys, Americans don’t necessarily believe that statues of Columbus should be removed.  

Additional data from YouGov Direct finds that 52% of Americans say that statues of Christopher Columbus should continue to be displayed. About one-third (34%) say they think statues depicting the explorer should not be on display.  

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See results for these questions here and here

Methodology: YouGov asked 7,486 US adults on October 8-9, 2020: “Do you consider Christopher Columbus to be more of a hero or more of a villain?” The survey was carried out online. Data were weighted on age, education, gender, race, and Census region to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 1% for the overall sample.   

YouGov asked 2,639 US adults on October 10-11, 2020: “Do you think statues of Christopher Columbus should or should not be displayed in America?”  The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data were weighted on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of adults in the United States. The margin of error is approximately 2.8% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty