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Poll finds only 18 percent support 'defund the police'

Poll finds only 18 percent support 'defund the police'
© Bonnie Cash

A new poll by Ipsos and USA Today shows that less than 20 percent of respondents support the “defund the police” movement, with 58 percent opposing it.

The poll also suggested low support among Democrats and Black Americans for the movement. 

Just 28 percent of Black respondents and 34 percent of Democrats backed the campaign, according to the poll.

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Opposition to defund the police was higher among Republicans and whites, with 84 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of whites opposing the movement. 

Overall, only 18 percent said they supported the defund the police movement compared to 58 percent who said they opposed it.

Opposition was also high to abolishing or eliminating the police. Sixty-seven percent said they would not support doing so.

The push to defund the police grew in the summer of 2020 amid national outrage over the police killings of Black Americans, notably George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Jury selection in the trial for the former officer who knelt on Floyd's neck is to begin this week.

The “defund the police” movement has placed a wedge among Democrats on Capitol Hill: The campaign is backed by leading progressives in the party, while more moderate members have spoken out against the initiative.

Some Democrats believe the movement hurt Democratic candidates for the House and Senate in last year's elections.  

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The poll also examined support for redirecting police funds to social services. Only 43 percent of respondents supported the idea, while more than half opposed the proposal.

Race and political ideology were defining lines when it came to support for reallocating police funding. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats polled supported the redistribution of police funds to social programs, while only 16 percent of Republicans backed the initiative.

When it came to race, 63 percent of Black voters polled supported allocating portions of police funding to social programs, while only 35 percent of white voters agreed.

The poll surveyed 1,165 Americans between March 1 and March 2. The credibility interval is 3.3 percentage points.