U.S. Overwhelmingly Backs Protests, Survey Finds

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Americans overwhelmingly support the nationwide protests that have taken place since the killing of George Floyd and they say police forces have not done enough to ensure that blacks are treated equally to whites, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll, the Post reports. President Donald Trump got negative marks for his handling of the protests, with 61 percent saying they disapprove and 35 percent saying they approve. Much of the opposition to Trump is vehement, as 47 percent of Americans say they strongly disapprove of the way the president has responded. The poll highlights how attitudes about police treatment of blacks are changing dramatically. Sixty-nine percent of say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem in law enforcement, compared with fewer than one in three (29 percent) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident.

That finding marks a significant shift when compared with the reactions in 2014 to police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City. Six years ago, 43 percent described those deaths as indicative of broader problems in policing while 51 percent saw them as isolated incidents. Overall, 74 percent of Americans say they support the protests in cities and towns across the U.S. since the May 25 killing of Floyd. The demonstrations have bipartisan appeal, with 87 percent of Democrats saying they support them, along with 76 percent of independents. Among Republicans, the majority — 53 percent — also back the protests. Forty-three percent of respondents said the protests have been mostly peaceful and an identical percentage describing them as mostly violent. Views on this split along ideological and partisan lines: Most liberals (70 percent) and Democrats (56 percent) say the protests were mostly peaceful, while most conservatives (60 percent) and Republicans (65 percent) say they were largely violent.

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