US: Political Polling – Racism in America & Black Lives Matter Protests
As part of Opinium’s inaugural poll in partnership with Guardian US, we surveyed 2,000 nationally representative adults online between June 19th and 24th to understand where the American public stands on key issues surrounding the antiracism protests that have swept the nation following the police killing of George Floyd. The research explores perceptions of racism, how Americans think various politicians have responded to the protests, and where Americans stand on a range of police reforms.
Here is a sample of the key findings:
- Broad acknowledgment of the problem: Nine in 10 Americans believe that racism and police violence are problems in the US.
- Disapproval of Trump’s handling: More Americans disapprove than approve of Trump’s response to the protests (47% vs. 31%). This is true, predictably, of registered Democrats (75% disapprove; 12% approve) but also of registered Independents (55% disapprove; 27% approve).
- Young Americans are most engaged and hopeful: 73% of 18-to-34-year-olds have taken some sort of action in support of the movement compared to 52% of the general population. Almost one in five (18%) have signed a petition in support of the movement vs. one in 10 (10%) of all Americans. About 9% have gone out to protest themselves, versus 4% of all Americans. And 12% of 18-to-34-year-olds were inspired by the movement to check their voter registration versus only 6% of the general population. 18-to-34’s are also most optimistic that Black Lives Matter will lead to real change: 56% believe it will, as opposed to 44% of the general population.
- The ‘bad apple’ narrative reigns supreme: 76% of Americans believe that most cops are good people, but there are a few ‘bad apples.’ Only 13% of Americans take the opposite view—that most police officers are bad people, but there are some good ones.
- Police reform: While Americans back a variety of police reforms, from investigating all use of deadly force (74% approval) to banning police use of choke holds (67% approval), less than a quarter (24%) say they agree with the activist rallying cry to ‘defund the police’ and even fewer (13%) agree with ‘abolish the police.’
- Boundaries of protest: 74% of Americans believe protests should always be peaceful and 71% condemn the looting. Only a fifth of Americans (22%) believe that the cause is important enough that the protests need to take place despite public health concerns around Covid-19. More Americans think Malcolm X would be proud of this movement (39%) than Martin Luther King (36%).
Opinium and Guardian US will partner on monthly national polls as well as some swing state-level polling to measure voter and general population attitudes on key election issues and track changes over time. Polling will include favorability ratings of the candidates, deep-dives in swing states, as well as a focus on topical issues, such as the administration’s handling of coronavirus and racial justice, debate performance, and the impact of any scandals that emerge throughout the campaigns.
View the full tables here.