Poll: Majority of Americans Have a Negative View of Black Lives Matter

A majority of registered voters in America have a negative view of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a new Harvard-Harris Poll.

Key findings of the poll on the related topics of the Black Lives Matter movement, police, and race include the following:

  • Fifty-seven percent of registered voters say they have an unfavorable opinion of Black Lives Matter protests and protesters, while only 43 percent say they have a favorable opinion.
  • Seventy percent of registered voters say that black on black crime in African American communities is a bigger problem today, while 30 percent say police violence towards African Americans is a bigger problem.
  • Fifty-six percent of voters think the police are too quick to use force, while 44 percent think the police typically only use force when necessary.
  • Sixty-four percent of voters think race affects police use of force, while 36 percent say race does not affect the use of force.
  • Fifty-four percent of voters say police are too quick to shoot African American suspects, while 46 percent say police engage with people of all races about the same.
  • Fifty percent of voters say the criminal justice system treats people of all races and ethnicities about the same, 50 percent say it is biased against African Americans and other minorities.

“The Harvard-Harris Poll is a monthly poll released by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights and Analytics,” according to its website. It debuted in February 2017. Harris Insights and Analytics is a Stagwell company.

Mark Penn, the pollster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign, is the managing partner of the Stagwell Group, and is one of the poll’s co-directors. The two other co-directors of the poll are Stephen D. Ansolabehere, a professor of Government and the director of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University, and Dritan Nesho, a fellow at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

The survey “was conducted online within the United States between July 19-24, 2017 among 2,032 registered voters by The Harris Poll.”

The Harvard-Harris Poll asked respondents questions about more than a dozen additional key issues, three of which have been rolled out separately in articles published by The Hill, the Harvard Harris Poll’s media partner. Rather than release a topline key findings memo along with the poll results, as many polling companies do, the Harvard-Harris Poll has released that information through exclusive cross tab data or exclusive interviews conducted by The Hill with the poll’s co-director, Mark Penn.

The Hill, July 26: Poll: Dems have the edge in healthcare debate

A majority of voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on the issue of healthcare and most say that ObamaCare is working fine, according to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll.

The survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, found that 52 percent of voters trust Democrats to provide the best way forward on healthcare. Twenty-seven percent said they trust President Trump and only 21 percent said they trust Republicans in Congress, bringing the total GOP figure to 48 percent.

In addition, 53 percent said they believe ObamaCare is working, rather than failing. . .

The Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard-Harris throughout 2017. Full poll results will be posted online later this week.

The Harvard-Harris poll is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

The second article in this series based on the Harvard-Harris Poll results from July 19-24 was published at The Hill on the morning of August 2:

The Hill, August 2: Poll: 57 percent have negative view of Black Lives Matter movement.

Only 35 percent of whites have a favorable view of the [Black Lives Matter] movement, while 83 percent of blacks have a favorable view.

Twenty-one percent of Republicans have a positive view of the movement. That figure dips to 18 percent among those who voted for President Trump.

Meanwhile, 65 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of those who voted for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton support the movement, which sprung up during the 2016 election to protest several controversial police shootings of black people and broader frustrations with the criminal justice system and police treatment of minorities.

“The public is sympathetic to the problem of police using too much force but overall are unsympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn. “As you might expect, white voters are sharply negative to the group while African-Americans give them positive ratings.” . . .

“There are deep racial divides in attitudes towards police and whether too much attention has been given to cop shootings versus black-on-black crime,” said Penn.

The third article in this series based on the Harvard-Harris Poll results from July 19-24 was published at The Hill on the afternoon of August 2:

The Hill, August 2: Poll finds support for marijuana legalization

Most Americans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use and a strong majority believe it should at least be available for medical reasons, according to a new poll.

The latest Harvard-Harris survey found that 49 percent of Americans polled believe marijuana should be legalized for both medical and personal use. Thirty-seven percent say it should be legalized solely for medicinal purposes, meaning that 86 percent of respondents support legalizing the plant in some form.

Only 14 percent say marijuana should be illegal.

The findings come as Attorney General Jeff Sessions is believed to be readying a crackdown on marijuana users. The Justice Department is expected to release a report soon that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and may recommend tougher sentences for growers, sellers and users.
“Voters point to drugs as the major source of crime and support tough sentences for drug dealers but view marijuana in a wholly different light,” Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn said. “Most think legalization of marijuana would probably be helpful in reducing crime and almost half support legalization.”

Additional findings in the Harvard-Harris Poll conducted between July 19 and July 24 which are newsworthy and merit stand alone articles include:

  • Sixty-four percent of voters say the investigations into Russia and Trump are hurting the country.
  • Sixty-two percent of voters say U.S. economy is strong.
  • Eighty-five percent of voters have heard about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election.
  • Sixty-three percent of voters say Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer was not a crime, 37 percent say a crime may have been committed.
  • Sixty-six percent of voters believe Clinton Foundation contributions should be investigated.
  • Eighty-two percent of voters believe Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau giving millions to an admitted terrorist was wrong.
  • Fifty-nine percent of voters feel the Trump presidency is on a bad course, while 41 percent think it is on a good course.
  • Seventy-seven percent of voters who think the Trump presidency is on a bad course say it is due to temperament and way of governing, 23 percent say it is due to policies.
  • Sixty-five percent of voters who think the Trump presidency is on a good course say it is due to policies, 35 percent say it is due to temperament and way of governing.
  • Sixty-nine percent of voters support the death penalty, 31 percent oppose it.
  • Fifty-nine percent of voters say guns in the house make it a safer place, 41 percent say more dangerous

Since the Harvard-Harris Poll is an online survey only, there are several aspects of its methodology that differ from polls that rely upon live or automated phone calls to respondents on land line phones are cell phones.

One has to do with weighting of the results. The Harvard-Harris Poll weights for demographic characteristics, as do most polls that rely on phone calls:

The results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party, and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

But the Harvard-Harris poll also weights for something the co-directors refer to as “propensity score weighting.”

“Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online,” the poll summary says.

Unlike other polls that rely upon live or automated phone calls to respondents via land line or cell phones, the co-directors did not offer any “margin of error” for the poll, since it was an online survey only.

There was one other unusual aspect of the Harvard-Harris Poll’s methodology.

When asking a question, most other polls will typically offer three to five options from which the respondent may select.

In the July Harvard-Harris Poll, almost all questions offered the respondent only two options from which to select.

According to the Stagwell Group website, managing partner Penn is “known as the strategist for and creator of well-known campaigns and ads, helping reelect President Bill Clinton and his move to the political center, devising then Senator Hillary Clinton’s successful ‘Upstate strategy,’ creating Tony Blair’s ‘Forward not Back’ campaign in 2005 and the ‘3AM’ ad in the 2008 Presidential primaries, and led the team on Microsoft’s hugely successful 2014 Super Bowl ad when he headed advertising there.”

“Penn has been a senior adviser to global corporate and political leaders including Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Bill Ford, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bill Clinton. He has helped elect over 25 heads of state around the world,” the Stagwell Group website notes.


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