July 29 (UPI) -- The issue of paying reparations to black Americans -- to atone for the United States' history of exploiting slaves -- has gained support in recent months, but a new survey Monday said most Americans oppose the idea.
Gallup said new research shows nearly 70 percent of respondents oppose paying descendants of slaves.
The results follow a House subcommittee hearing last month that called for a study to "develop reparation proposals for African-Americans" and an apology from the U.S. government for "gross human rights violations."
A total of 29 percent favor making payments to descendants, Gallup said. Nearly three-quarters of black Americans, 73 percent, support such payments along with 16 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans.
Although most still oppose payments, support among respondents has climbed substantially. When Gallup asked the question in 2002, 14 percent responded favorably.
"Calls for reparations reflect a desire to address current economic disparities arising from the vestiges of both slavery and Jim Crow laws, including government-sanctioned segregation," Gallup said. "The racial gap in support for these efforts may partly stem from more fundamental racial disparities in perceptions of current U.S. race relations."
Support varies geographically. Gallup's research showed support is strongest in the East (35 percent) and lowest in the Midwest (24 percent). Twenty-seven percent of respondents in the South voiced support.
Along political lines, support was recorded among 49 percent of Democrats, 32 percent of independents and 5 percent of Republicans.
"Republicans are nearly unanimous in their opposition," Gallup added. "Not only does this present a formidable roadblock to passage of such a bill, but President Donald Trump and his party could use it as a wedge issue to further split the Democratic voter base."