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Renewed public support, by the numbers
In a summary posted to the Gallup website by researcher Justin McCarthy, it was indicated that 76 percent of Americans say they have “a great deal” of respect for the police in their area, up 12 percentage points from last year. Further, 17 percent say they have “some” respect while seven percent say they have “hardly any” respect for the cops.
This year’s numbers are in stark contrast to 2015 results, which saw Americans’ confidence in police sink to a 22-year low. “In addition to the increases across racial groups,” McCarthy writes, “respect for local law enforcement has increased among most political party, ideological and age groups.”
Among those who identify as conservative, 85 percent of respondents answered they support the police “a great deal” in this year’s poll, compared to 69 percent last year. Among liberals, “a great deal” was selected by 71 percent, compared to 50 percent last year.
When broken down by race, whites’ approval rating of police rose by 11 points, up to 80 percent from 69 percent last year. Among non-whites, the rise was even more dramatic, a bump of 14 points from 53 percent to 67 percent. In terms of age, the 18-34 age group had the highest jump in approval, going from 50 percent in 2015 to 69 percent this year. The 35-54 group went from 61 to 77 percent approval rating (a 16-point increase), and the 55-and-older crowd rose four percentage points, from 77 to 81.
“Gallup has asked this question nine times since 1965,” McCarthy writes. “The percentage who say they respect the police is significantly higher now than in any measurement taken since the 1990s and is just one point below the high of 77 percent recorded in 1967. Solid majorities of Americans have said they respect their local law enforcement in all polls conducted since 1965.”