Poll finds majority support for Black Lives Matter, but opposition to defunding police, reparations

Poll finds majority support for Black Lives Matter, but opposition to defunding police, reparations
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A majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement and agree that racial minorities are treated unequally in the criminal justice system, but oppose paying Black Americans reparations, shifting funds from police departments to other social services and removing statues of Confederate figures, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The poll showed a significant partisan split at a time when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE is opposing the removal of Confederate statues and criticizing calls from the Black Lives Matter movement to defund police departments. 

Overall, 63 percent said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, including 92 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents. However, 68 percent of Republicans opposed the movement. Forty-six percent of respondents overall said they “strongly” support the movement.

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The poll found support particularly strong among Black Americans, more than 90 percent of whom support the movement and more than 82 percent of whom strongly back it. Fifty-four percent of whites and 74 percent of Hispanic people said they support the movement.

Fifty-five percent said a series of high-profile killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., are “a sign of broader problems in the treatment of black people by police,” compared to 40 percent who called them isolated incidents.

The number of those who see the deaths as a sign of a broader problem is up 12 points from 2014 but down about 14 points from June, a shift largely driven by changing sentiments among Republicans. 

On the issue of removing statues honoring Confederate generals and other leaders, 52 percent oppose doing so, compared to 43 percent who support removing them. A partisan split is present on this question as well, with 80 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents opposed and 74 percent of Democrats in favor.

A much larger majority, sixty-eight percent, oppose the removal of statues honoring non-Confederates who owned slaves, such as Thomas Jefferson, compared to 25 percent who support the removal of such statues. Sixty percent of Black Americans support removing such monuments.

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Fifty-five percent of those polled said they opposed moving funds from police departments to other services, with 43 percent opposing it strongly.

Fifty-nine percent of Democrats support shifting the funds from police, but just 14 percent of Republicans do.

Sixty-three percent of those polled oppose the payment of reparations, compared to 31 percent who support such payments. Two-thirds of white respondents and 93 percent of Republicans are against paying reparations, while 80 percent of Black respondents support the payments. Forty-two percent of Hispanic respondents said reparations should be paid, compared to 56 percent who said they should not be paid. 

Pollsters surveyed 1,006 adults, 75 percent on cellphones and 25 percent on landlines, from July 12-15. The poll has a 3.5-point overall margin of error, with a 4.5-point margin among the 661 white respondents and 10.5 points among the 113 Black respondents and 117 Hispanic respondents.