Americans across racial lines remain overwhelmingly opposed to violent protest to “improve the situation of black Americans” with 73% of respondents indicating it tends to “hurt” that cause, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.
The poll found a higher percentage of white Americans opposed violent protest (79%) than black Americans (59%). Both groups overwhelming agree that nonviolent protest helps blacks, with 78% of whites supporting it and 72% of blacks.
Gallup based data on June 8-July 24 survey of U.S. adults.
The polling company noted that “Since Gallup last polled on this subject in 1988, there have been meaningful increases in the percentages of Americans saying that nonviolent protest, violent protest and economic boycotts, in particular, can help. Opinions on the effectiveness of legal action are little changed.”
In 1988, 79% of overall respondents were opposed to violent protest.
The poll also found that Americans don’t tend to sympathize with violent protesters who engage in “looting or property damage” with only 41% of overall respondents indicating so. However, the question did uncover an apparent racial divide on this issue, with 60% of black Americans finding sympathy and only 38% of whites doing so.
But sympathize or not, only 12% of black Americans and 8% of white Americans say violent protest is ever justified.
“The survey was conducted during a period of nationwide protests,” Gallup noted, that included both nonviolent and violent responses to the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police.
Another recent poll indicated that 77% of Americans are “concerned” about the spike in violent crime in American cities.
Gallup conducted its survey by telephoning 1,226 adults living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Because the pollsters oversampled black responses “to represent racial and ethnic groups proportionately to their share of the population,” the margin of error varies.
For overall results that margin of error is ±4 percentage points, with a confidence level of 95%. For black American respondents the margin of error is ±7 percentage points with the same confidence level.
Ottawa Bureau Chief.
More violent behavior from BLM protesters in DC overnight. pic.twitter.com/OeNtf6Y0k5
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 28, 2020
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