As Americans continue to digest the results of the George Floyd murder trial, recent Rasmussen polling sheds some light on their current attitudes toward police and policing, with some results divided across political and racial lines.
Rasmussen posed police-related questions to a random sampling of 1,000 American adults online and via telephone on April 13-14, 2001.
One question asked:
“Is being a police officer one of the most important jobs in our country today?”
The results showed that 61% of adults responded “Yes,” with 23% disagreeing, and 15% unsure.
— The National Pulse RSS Feed (@TheNatPulseRSS) April 23, 2021
The answer to the question was sharply divided along political lines, with 84% of Republicans agreeing that being a police officer is one of the most important jobs. Only 50% of Democrats and 57% of “other,” or those unaffiliated with either party, agreed.
There was also a difference in response between races, with 67% of white respondents in agreement, as opposed to 49% of black respondents. Fifty-seven percent of respondents in the “other” category agreed with the question.
A second Rasmussen poll question asked:
“How concerned are you that the growing criticism of America’s police will lead to a shortage of police officers and reduce public safety in the community where you live?”
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 24, 2021
Most Americans polled (63%) responded that they were concerned that anti-police rhetoric would cause a shortage of police and a decrease in public safety. Of these, 37% were “very concerned,” and 26% were “somewhat concerned.
Only 10% of respondents were “not at all concerned.”
According to Rasmussen, these figures are similar to last year’s answers to the same question. In June, 2020, 64% of respondents were concerned about a police shortage and adverse effects on public safety, with 39% “very concerned.” Fourteen percent were “not at all concerned.”
As with the question on the importance of police work, respondents were also divided politically. Additionally, 84% of Republicans responded that they were concerned, as opposed to 52% of Democrats and 59% of other/unaffiliated.
Fifty-nine percent of Republicans were “very concerned,” compared to 24% of Democrats and 33% of “other” category.
Across the categories of both men and women, 64% overall were concerned. Women were more likely to be “very concerned,” at 41%, as opposed to 34% of men who were “very concerned.”
In terms of racial breakdown, 52% of black respondents and 67% of white respondents were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about anti-police criticism and a consequent reduction in public safety. These figures represent a change from the survey results of last June, when Rasmussen tallied concern in 67% of blacks and 63% of whites.
Among other minorities, public safety concerns have decreased from 67% to 61% since last June.
"How concerned are you that the growing criticism of America's police will lead to a shortage of police officers and reduce public safety in the community where you live?"
1000 National Adults – Concerned
Very – 37%
Somewhat – 26%
Not very – 19%
Not at all – 10%
Not sure – 7% https://t.co/6SxgJxWvC7
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 21, 2021
Additional Rasmussen survey questions posed April 13-14 assessed attitudes toward police performance and motives.
One question asked:
“How do you rate the performance of the police in the area where you live?”
Seventy-four percent of overall respondents rated police performance as “good” or “excellent.” This figure actually represents an increase over results from June 2020, when 67% of respondents gave those ratings.
When responses were tabulated according to race, 81% of whites evaluated police performance as “excellent.” Fifty-one percent of blacks and 63% of other minorities also gave an “excellent” rating.
Respondents were also asked:
“Generally speaking, are most deaths that involve the police the fault of the police officer or the suspect?”
For this questions, 21% of respondents faulted the police officer, which is a decrease from 27% in June of 2020. Forty-nine percent faulted the suspect, while 29% were “not sure.”
The responses to this question were divided across racial lines. Only 16% of whites thought that the police officer would be at fault, as opposed to 36% of blacks and 28% of other minorities.
Another Rasmussen question took direct aim at attitudes toward the concept of systemic racism among police.
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 16, 2021
The poll asked:
“Are most police officers racist?”
Only 15% of respondents overall thought that police officers were racist. Sixty-six percent said most police are not racist, with 19% “unsure.” Rasmussen notes that these figures are “the same” as the results tabulated last June, shortly after the death of George Floyd.
Differences in opinion on this question did follow racial lines. Only 9% of whites surveyed believe police officers are racist, but 35% of blacks and 25% of other minorities said the police are racist.
"Are most police officers racist?"
1000 National Likely Voters
Yes% – No% – Not Sure(NS)%
White: Yes 9% – No 73% – NS 18%
Black: Yes 35% – No 45% – NS 20%
Other Non-White: Yes 25% – No 55% – NS 20%
All Voters: Yes 15% – No 66% – NS 19% https://t.co/OKusn3z3Y9
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 20, 2021
Political divide also came into play, with 25% of Democrats, but only 6% of Republicans and 15% of unaffiliated/other, saying police are racist.
Support for the sitting president was also a factor, with 20% of Biden supporters believing police are racist, as opposed to only 3% of those who “strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance.”
"Most Americans (in our polling) think police in their area do a good job and are not racist. What’s more, poor people are more pro-police than rich people, by a factor of almost 2 to 1."
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) April 19, 2021
Rasmussen also noted that “[p]erhaps surprisingly,” rich people were more likely to say police were racist, with 34% of those earning over $200,000 saying so, as opposed to only 19% of those earning less than $30,000 annually.
These recent polls indicate that, overall, support for the police is higher and more favorable that mainstream media outlets would have one believe.
In addition, although there are clear divisions along racial lines, Rasmussen still found that the majority of black respondents gave local police an “excellent” performance rating.
The political divide has proven, however, to be quite striking across these recent questions – a fact that, sadly, may prove to bolster Democrats’ continued efforts to fan the flames of anti-police attitudes.
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What could go wrong? Squad member Rep. Tlaib calls for end of US policing, which she says is ‘intentionally racist’
WASHINGTON, DC – From behind her shield of police, National Guard, and Secret Service at the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has called for an end to policing and imprisonment. The progressive liberal member of the “Squad,” called for “no more policing, incarceration, and militarization.”
It wasn't an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist.
Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.
No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2021
Tlaib took on the role of jury Monday, declaring that the shooting death of Duante Wright during a traffic stop was intentional despite investigators’ initial findings saying it appeared to be accidental:
“It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
I agree. Everyone should join themed gangs like in The Warriors and settle their disputes with street violence.
— Tsukkomi (@ljenkins314) April 13, 2021
The Michigan Democrat sent out the tweet as demonstrators gathered for the second night of protests and rioting in Brooklyn Center near Minneapolis in response to the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Duante Wright. Officer Kim Potter fired her handgun when she meant to fire her Taser, according to authorities and video released of the incident.
Wright was stopped in Brooklyn Center Sunday night for a minor traffic violation. During the stop, officers learned he had an arrest warrant and tried to take him into custody. He struggled and re-entered his vehicle.
Warning: Graphic footage, including the shooting
Here's the body camera footage of the killing of Daunte Wright that was just released. pic.twitter.com/A2X8qS8ZFH
— The Recount (@therecount) April 12, 2021
The city’s police chief said he believes the officer meant to draw her Taser, but mistakenly pulled her gun instead. She fired one shot killing the young man.
Wright’s death has been ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
Brooklyn Center chief Tim Gannon comes back to the news conference and says, "the officer is afforded due process just like anybody else." pic.twitter.com/UcMJbrRili
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 12, 2021
Tlaib has been a steady voice calling for the defunding and end of law enforcement and has thrown her support behind the BREATHE ACT, a bill yet to be introduced that would divest federal money from federal law enforcement entities, close federal detention centers, and incentivize the closure of state prisons, among a host of other things, according to the website.
Are you, a lawmaker, saying we don’t need law enforcement? If yes, what effective alternative institutions, organizations, agencies do we have to enforce the law if we do away with policing?
— Steve Boniface (@stevieray8450) April 12, 2021
The BREATHE Act is wide-ranging legislation resulting from a project led by the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 organizations. The bill is broken into four sections, as explained by The Detroit Metro Times:
I mean, Rashida literally wrote legislation on what she thinks policing should look like, you could comment on that instead of on tweets?https://t.co/eW6v8i1Ge1
— Adam Smith (@LaissezWhere) April 13, 2021
The first section calls for divesting from police agencies like the DEA and ICE, banning surveillance technology, ending civil asset forfeiture, ending life sentences and mandatory minimum sentences, closing federal prisons, and decriminalizing and retroactively expunging both state and federal drug offenses, among others.
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