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US racial gap widest over confidence in police: poll

US racial gap widest over confidence in police: poll
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The racial gap in Americans’ confidence in police is the widest measured in Gallup history, according to a poll released Wednesday.

In the Gallup poll, Black and white Americans have the biggest difference in confidence in the police than several other U.S. institutions.

The racial separation in police confidence comes after protests swept the nation following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in May.

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A total of 56 percent of white Americans and 19 percent of Black Americans said they were confident in the police, creating a record gap of 37 percentage points. 

The Gallup poll began recording people’s confidence in police in 1993, a year after the Rodney King riots. Since the beginning of the 2000s, police confidence has decreased among both white and Black Americans, although much more dramatically among Black Americans. 

From 1993 to 2013, before the acquittal of the shooter in the Trayvon Martin case, the racial gap amounted to approximately 25 percentage points. Between 2014 and 2019, Black confidence fell to an average of 30 percent amid the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The institution that had the second-highest racial gap in confidence was the presidency, where 47 percent of white Americans expressed confidence, compared to just 13 percent of Black Americans. Racial gaps were also visible when calculating confidence in the military, small business, Supreme Court and the criminal justice system. 

But Black and white Americans had similar levels of confidence, with a 5 percentage point difference or less, in public schools, the medical system, church or organized religion, banks, organized labor, newspapers, big business and Congress.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,226 U.S. adults between June 8-July 24, after Floyd’s death and the beginning of a number of protests. The poll included an oversample of Black Americans and had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.