Empower Wisconsin | July 22, 2020
Black Lives Matter. So do police.
That’s the opinion of a majority of Americans questioned in a new Washington Post/ABC News Poll.
The poll, conducted July 12-15, surveyed 1,006 people. It found 63 percent support the Black Lives Matter movement.
At the same time, 55 percent are opposed to defunding or redirecting police funding, and 63 percent are against taxpayer-funded reparations to black Americans whose ancestors were slaves.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed (69 percent) believe blacks and other minorities “receive equal treatment as white people in the criminal justice system.”
That belief has declined by 15 percent, however, since 2014, according to The Washington Post, which reported that 2020 “marks the first time a majority of white people” say blacks and other minorities do not receive equal treatment under the law.
A slight majority of those surveyed (52 percent) oppose removing Confederate statues, while 68 percent are against taking down statues of presidents who were slave owners.
The poll was conducted in the backdrop of a long, hot summer of civil unrest, mass protests and mob violence following the May death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer. Cities from Portland to New York to Madison have seen demonstrations against racism and police brutality. Some of them have been relatively peaceful; others have devolved into scenes of anarchy, with rioters looting businesses, destroying public and private property and assaulting and murdering police officers and citizens.
The Post/ABC poll is the latest national survey showing support for police reform but clear opposition to removing funds from public safety budgets. An Associated Press/National Opinion Research Center poll from late June found 95 percent of Americans surveyed back criminal justice reform measures, but only 25 percent support defunding the police.