Poll: Confidence in police increases to historical average

A Cleveland police officer joins hands with protesters to pray outside the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 19. U.S. adults' confidence of police increased from 56 percent in 2016 to 57 percent this June, according to a Gallup poll. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI

July 11 (UPI) — U.S. adults’ confidence in police has risen slightly to the overall average of 25 years of polling by Gallup.

The percentage of American adults who have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police rose to 57 percent, according to the Gallup poll of 1,009 aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia from June 7-11.

Confidence had fallen to 53 percent in June 2014 and then to a record-tying low of 52 percent in 2015 but increased to 56 percent in 2016. The highest percentage was 64 percent in 2004.

Since 2014, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained national attention with a series of protests against police shootings of unarmed black people in New York City, Ferguson, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C., among others.

Among 15 institutions, only military and small businesses score higher than police.

“On the surface, Americans’ confidence in the police appears strong and steady when compared with other U.S. institutions,” Gallup’s Jim Norman said. “A closer look, however, reveals a troubling loss of confidence among key groups in U.S. society. Police already must deal with low levels of trust among blacks, and a similar situation may be occurring among Hispanics. The lack of confidence among younger Americans could presage a growing loss of respect for police in the future. The continuing drop in confidence among liberals is already producing political repercussions.”

Broken down by race and ethnicity, 30 percent of blacks have confidence compared with 45 of Hispanics and 61 percent of whites in figures compiled from 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Confidence increases by age — 44 percent for those 18-34, 54 percent for 35-54 and 63 percent for 55 and older.”

By ideology, only 39 percent of liberals have confidence while it’s 53 percent for moderates and 67 percent for conservatives.

The difference is also diverse by party — 69 percent of Republicans and 44 of Democrats.

Since 2012-14, the percentages dropped among Hispanics, blacks, liberals, moderates, 18-34 and Democrats. In the other subgroups it increased.

“The loss of confidence among these groups creates yet another gap between young and old, whites and Hispanics, and conservatives and liberals, marking how divided the nation has become,” Norman said.

The margin of error is 4 percentage points.


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