If you feel like you’re in the minority for thinking that looters, rioters and other violent “protesters” are in fact criminals, you are mistaken. Because — media spin to the contrary duly noted and subsequently dismissed — most voters feel the same way, as revealed in a newly published Rasmussen Reports poll.
The results of the poll are surprising only in contrast to the constant barrage of media — both mainstream and social — that make it appear as if the whole world (outside of a small bubble of backward-thinking clingers) see violent “protesters” as agents of change for the good. It turns out that once again, the media are lying to the people. In fact, according to the poll, most American voters see the “protesters” for exactly what they are: violent criminals. Furthermore, most also believe that the violence will result in making the criminal justice system worse, not better.
Conducted between July 29 and July 30, the telephone poll surveyed 1,000 “Likely Voters.” As Rasmussen explains in the published results:
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted July 29-30, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
So, what did the poll find? Only 32 percent of Likely U.S. Voters believe the mob violence that has continued for weeks in several major cities is primarily legitimate outrage over the police, while 57 percent think instead that it’s mostly criminals taking advantage of the situation. Twelve percent are “not sure.”
The poll was uncomplicated, asking only two non-leading questions: (1) Is the mob violence that has continued for weeks in several major cities primarily legitimate outrage over the police or mostly criminals taking advantage of the situation? And (2) Is the mob violence likely to improve the criminal justice situation in America or make it worse? Or will it have no impact?
The clarity of those questions is a pleasant departure from some polls, which ask questions so complicated and convoluted that those answering the questions are unsure of how their answers will be interpreted. The questions also avoid a “forced answer” akin to choosing between two non-preferred answers (i.e., Should the United States increase foreign aid to the Middle East or keep it at its current level?)
As a result, the answers to these questions can simply be interpreted to represent the opinions of those polled.
The report compared the feelings of voters now to the general sentiment toward Black Lives Matter (BLM) “protesters” in the immediate wake of the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the 2015 Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. The poll shows that attitudes about the current riots are “comparable” to those during the Ferguson riots and “slightly less critical” than during the Baltimore riots.
As a result of the violent riots, most expressed that the criminal justice system will continue to worsen. The report says:
Like those protests, the current mob violence is aimed at alleged race-driven police brutality, but only 21% of voters think it is likely to improve the criminal justice situation in America. Fifty-one percent (51%) believe the mob violence will make the criminal justice situation worse. Seventeen percent (17%) say it will have no impact, while 12% are undecided.
But even that 32 percent of respondents who believe the violence is “primarily legitimate outrage” do not overwhelmingly believe that it will improve things. But among the majority who see the violence as being perpetrated by “mostly criminals taking advantage of the situation,” the sentiment is quite different. As the report states:
Among voters who think the mob violence is primarily legitimate outrage, however, 51% say it is likely to improve the criminal justice situation. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of those who see the mob violence as primarily criminal say it is more likely to worsen criminal justice in America.
While age and race play a part in how respondents answered both questions, the results are still quite telling:
Those under 40 are more likely than their elders to view the ongoing mob violence in several cities as chiefly legitimate outrage, but even among younger voters, a plurality (49%) thinks it’s primarily criminal instead.
While 56% of whites and 70% of other minority voters say the ongoing mob violence is largely criminal, just 37% of blacks agree. Forty-one percent (41%) of black voters say it’s mostly legitimate outrage.
Fifty percent (50%) of whites and 59% of other minorities say the mob violence is more likely to make the criminal justice situation worse. Blacks are almost evenly divided over whether it will make things better or worse.
As for the path forward, another recent Rasmussen poll sheds some much-needed light on the BLM and Antifa demands to defund police. That poll shows that “66% of all Americans oppose reducing the police budget in the community where they live. Sixty-one percent (61%) believe violent crime will go up in communities that defund the police. And a poll from June shows that 67 percent of respondents rated the performance of the police in the area where they live as good or excellent, while a mere 20 percent believe the tactics used by their local police are too harsh.
So, while America is indeed divided over these issues, it appears the divide is manufactured by media (both mainstream and social) who skew the facts, making it appear that only a dim-witted minority of Americans believe that BLM, Antifa, and other violent groups are in the wrong and that their tactics will only worsen things for all Americans.
Photo: AP Images
C. Mitchell Shaw is a freelance writer and public speaker who addresses a range of topics related to liberty and the U.S. Constitution. A strong privacy advocate, he was a privacy nerd before it was cool.