Following the death of George Floyd in police custody and months of subsequent protests against police brutality across the county, a new Gallup poll finds that U.S. confidence in police fell to 48% this year, which is the lowest level recorded by Gallup in the nearly 30 years it’s been tracking public opinion on this question (confidence reached a high of 64% in 2004).
A police officer stands in front of a Black Lives Matter sign during the Seattle Police Officers … [+]
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Gallup’s annual “Confidence in Institutions” poll, released Wednesday morning, found opinions on law enforcement are sharply divided along racial and political lines.
Confidence in the police actually rose seven points among Republicans this year, to 82%, whereas it dropped six points among Democrats to 28%.
Among white adults, 56% said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the police, versus just and 19% of Black adults.
This substantial 37-percentage-point racial gap is the largest found for any of 16 major U.S. institutions rated in Gallup’s annual poll.
In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, respondents universally expressed significantly increased confidence in both the medical system and public schools, two institutions on the frontlines of the battle against Covid-19.
The percentage of U.S. adults who now say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the medical system skyrocketed from 36% in 2019 up to 51% this year (the highest measure on record since Gallup began asking this question in 1993).
Confidence in the public school system also rose dramatically this year, by 12 points, to 41%, which is its highest point since 2004. According to Gallup, double-digit increases in confidence for any institution are exceedingly rare, having occurred only nine times in more than four decades of measuring such data. Many of these previous instances involved heightened confidence in the military when the U.S. was at war. Other institutions that have seen significant increases in confidence this year include banks (+8 points to 38%), small business (+7 points to 75%) and organized religion (+6 points to 42%). Gallup began conducting its “Confidence in Institutions” poll in 1973 during the Watergate scandal. This year’s findings were based on polling from June 8-July 24, among a random sample of 1,226 adults, aged 18 or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, 195 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty due to Covid-19.