While overall, 60 percent of New York voters think the killing of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are indicative of a broader pattern of excessive force by police against Black people, there are wide political and demographic differences.
According to a poll by Siena College Research Institute of registered New York voters, 80 percent of Democrats say the killings at the hands of police are part of a broader pattern while 57 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independents say they are isolated instances. Although 53 percent of white voters say it is part of a pattern, that view is held by 64 percent of Latinos and 91 percent of Black New Yorkers. New York City voters see a pattern 72-23 percent, while upstaters agree 55-39 percent.
Seventy-three percent of the respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 think the killings are part of a broader problem while 57 percent between the ages of 35-54 and 56 percent of those over 54 agree.
Sixty-six percent favor the Black Lives Matter movement — 84 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans.
By a 70-22 percent margin, voters have a favorable view of their local police, down from 81-16 percent in January, 2015. While more than three-quarters of whites and 55 percent of Latinos have a favorable view, Blacks are closely divided, with 43 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable, down from 60-38 percent favorable in January, 2015.
The issue brought to the forefront the issue of systematic racism in our society and the poll found more than half, 51 percent, think it is a very serious problem and 31 percent think it is a somewhat serious problem. Eighteen percent say it is not a serious problem and 8 percent say it is not a problem at all.
Sixty-eight of those polled between the ages of 18 and 34 think systematic racism is a serious problem while 45 percent of those between 35 and 54 and 48 percent of those older than 54 agree.
“While there is some disagreement by race, party, geography, and age as to whether systemic racism in the country is a ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ serious problem, at least two-thirds of voters agree – regardless of race, party, region or age – that systemic racism is at least a somewhat serious problem,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg. “At least two-thirds of Democrats, Blacks, Latinos, voters under 35 and New York City voters say systemic racism is a very serious problem. Fewer than 30 percent of any demographic group says that systemic racism is not a very or not at all a serious problem, except for self-identified conservatives, of whom 43 percent say it is not a serious problem.”
The killings at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked protests across the country, many of which turned to riots — some of which are still going on.
According to the poll, 75 percent of Democrats, New York City voters and voters under 35, as well as 88 percent of Blacks, support the rallies. The majority of Republicans, 58 percent, though, oppose them because too many have turned to rioting and looting.
Eighty percent of the people did not participate and nobody in their household participated.
The rallies did bring reform in how police do their work and talk of more reform to come.
- 84 percent favor creating a national database of police officer misconduct.
- 81 percent favor a federal ban on the use of chokeholds
- 82 percent favor having mental health professionals respond alongside of police officers to 911 calls dealing with homeless, drug addiction and mental illness
- 63 percent — 77 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans — favor the elimination of qualified immunity which would allow police officers to be personally sued for their actions.
One of the rallying cries at the rallies was to “defund the police.” According to the poll, 37 percent of respondents — 52 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans— favor cutting funding to police departments. Fifty-eight of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans favor demilitarizing police departments.
According to the poll, 42 percent of New Yorkers feel more secure when they see a police officer, compared to 20 percent who feel less secure and 35 percent who are unaffected.
“When Blacks see a police officer, 46 percent feel less secure and only 13 percent feel more secure,” Greenberg said. “It is the mirror image for whites with 51 percent feeling more secure and only 13 percent less secure.”
- 57 percent of the people approve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the George Floyd killing.
- 64 percent do not favor President Donald Trump’s handling of the situation
- Cuomo’s overall favorability rating stands at 65 percent, down a point from last month.
- 76 percent of voters approve of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic.
- 62 percent see a bigger danger for the state opening too quickly rather than too slowly, down from 65 percent last month.
- Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has the same 57-32 lead over President Donald Trump as a month ago. More voters though, 46 percent, think Trump will win in November, up from 42 percent last month.
This Siena College Poll was conducted June 23-25, by calling 806 registered New York state voters. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points