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HomePollsPoll: Black Lives Matter Likely Hurt Cause, Voters Back Police Even More

Poll: Black Lives Matter Likely Hurt Cause, Voters Back Police Even More


Aug. 9, 2015: Police take cover behind a vehicle during a protest in Ferguson, Mo. The one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson began with a march in his honor and ended with a protest that was interrupted by gunfire. (Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Since the protests first began in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Americans’ support for police has grown. In December 2014, Americans overwhelmingly (67 percent) said that their local police are their protectors and gave them high ratings in appreciation of the job they do on a daily basis. Most also said that they believe deaths that involve policemen are usually the fault of the suspect, not the cop.

Now, likely due to the tactics employed by the Black Lives Matter movement–to be discussed further shortly–as well as recent attacks on police, Americans have an even more positive view of their local police and don’t consider their tactics out of line. While neither Rasmussen Reports, the firm that conducted the most recent survey, nor other pollsters specifically asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, the noticeable difference between the current and previous surveys is the increase in support for police among gentry, white liberals in suburban an urban areas.

In previous confidence in major U.S. institutions surveys conducted by Gallup, the data revealed that region–and surprisingly, to a lesser extent race–had an enormous impact on the respondent’s answer. For instance, Gallup typically found that blacks living in urban areas are significantly less likely than blacks in non-urban areas to say they are confident in the police. And the same is true for higher-income urban whites, which are associated with voters in the gentry liberal class who consequently make up the base of Vermont socialist senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Worth noting, considering the data, it probably would not be a wise idea for the BLM movement to continue to interrupt Sen. Sanders during campaign events, particularly with outrageous or even unhinged behavior, outbursts and tirades. Also worth noting, it would appear that Democratic fears about the tactics and political risk associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, are indeed warranted. While we typically hear about the importance of the minority vote in the Democratic coalition, the white gentry liberal bloc is often understated. As we saw in the 2014 elections, the Democratic Party cannot continue to lose their shrinking share of white voters much more.

A modest Republican improvement among affluent and middle class minority voters–taken together with a further erosion of Democratic support among whites–would smash right through the so-called Blue Wall in the Electoral College.

To be sure, events in Baltimore, New York and around the nation have no doubt contributed to the rally-to-police phenomena we are observing. For instance, In the wake of the Baltimore riots, polls found Americans not only continued to support police over activists, who were claiming rampant police brutality is a reality in the country, but support increased modestly. A Rasmussen Reports survey taken in late April 2015, just 25 percent of American adults said the Baltimore riots were sparked by legitimate grievances, while 63 percent said it was predominantly the result of criminal actions of opportunists taking advantage of a tragic situation.

Americans in their wisdom said that the destructive actions carried out shortly after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who died while in police custody, would only serve to worsen the criminal justice situation in Baltimore City, Maryland. Consequently, the city of Baltimore is now experiencing the highest crimes rate in decades. Nevertheless, in March 2015, 70 percent of likely voters said the level of crime in low-income inner city communities was a bigger problem in America today than police discrimination against minorities. Further, 61 percent of all voters think the media overhypes incidents in which blacks are shot by white police officers, and a slightly higher 63 percent say this coverage is putting police officers in harms way.

The latest “Support Local Police” survey of 1,000 American Adults was conducted on August 11-12, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comment

  • Hurting themselves is the BIGGEST problem within the black community. Yes there is systematic racism, yes blacks have been under educated & subjected to unfair treatment from police. You know which candidate for president has worked his entire life fighting for black lives to matter? Bernie Sanders! Are we to trade white racism for black? What are being presented as “activists” are actually just the black version of the KKK. Loud, aggressive and low IQs. The only difference is ones white with hoods & the others hoods with hair weaves. Lol

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