Views on police vary, but reform supported.
As President Trump touches down in Wisconsin Thursday, a new Marquette Law School poll of 805 registered voters shows the lead widening in favor of Joe Biden, overwhelming public support for protesters seeking police reform, and a wide variation on what constitutes police reform depending on what you call it.
Protesters who have been demonstrating across the country since the May 25 Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd often use a simple phrase, “defund the police,” to demand changes to police budgets and tactics, and to improve funding for community services that can reduce the need for police action. When asked if they support the concept to “defund the police,” only 23 percent of poll respondents said yes while 70 percent said no.
However, if asked if they support restructuring the role of police and requiring greater accountability for police misconduct, 83 percent said yes while only 16 percent said no.
Overall approval for the protesters is at 61 percent versus 36 percent who disapprove.
When asked if the killings of Black men and women by police are isolated incidents or part of a pattern of behavior by police against people of color, there is a significant division by race. Of white respondents, 47 percent say the killings are isolated while 44 percent say it shows a pattern of behavior. Among Black respondents, 8 percent call the deaths isolated and 86 percent said it is part of a broader pattern of police conduct.
Job approval for President Trump’s handling of the crisis surrounding the police protests is only 30 percent. He received higher approval numbers for the economy (50 percent, down from May’s 54 percent) and the coronavirus outbreak (44 percent, same as May).
The President’s overall job approval versus disapproval is 45-51 percent. Throughout his time in office, Trump’s approval numbers have ranged from 41 to 48 percent, according to poll director Charles Franklin.
When asked if they agree with the statement that Trump cares about “people like me,” only 39 percent of respondents said yes.
Gov. Tony Evers’ job approval vs. disapproval is 54-38 percent, down from May’s split of 59-33.
Trump trails Biden in the Marquette poll, 49-41, with 10 percent choosing someone else or saying they don’t know. In February’s poll the two each had 46 percent support.
In another key Midwestern state, Ohio respondents to a new poll from Quinnipiac University favor Biden over Trump, 46-45, within the margin of error but another troubling sign for Trump, who won Ohio by 8 points in 2016.
Asked about the coronavirus outbreak, 55 percent in Wisconsin said they are very concerned or somewhat concerned. That is a decrease from 60 percent in May and 70 percent in March.
Respondents are more pessimistic than in March about the length of the outbreak. Back then, 82 percent believed the outbreak would be under control no later than this fall. In the new poll, that figure is 38 percent while 53 percent now say the outbreak will last a year or longer.
As to comfort level with resuming certain activities as the pandemic continues, 54 percent said they were comfortable with kids going back to school while 38 percent were uncomfortable with the idea.
By a 65-34 margin, respondents said they feel comfortable going to a large retail store. There is a 49-49 split on whether people are yet comfortable with dining at a restaurant. And only 33 percent said they would feel comfortable attending a major sporting event.