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Gallup poll on police reform

If by “de-funding” of police one means the total abolition of police forces, Americans do not support it. But if the term means diverting some police resources to allow other groups to deal with social problems, support rises significantly. This from a Gallup poll conducted at the end of July. The poll also shows considerable public disapproval of police unions who are seen as shielding bad cops.

In the wake of widespread protests sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a majority of Americans (58%) say major changes are needed to make policing better. An additional 36% say minor changes are needed, while 6% say no changes are needed. There are substantial differences by demographic groups. Almost nine in 10 Black Americans (88%) say major changes are needed, compared with 63% of Hispanic Americans and 51% of White Americans.

 Results are based on a Gallup Panel web study completed by 36,463 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, fielded June 23-July 6, 2020. The survey was conducted in English. Individuals without Internet access were not covered by this study. The Gallup Panel is a probability-based panel of U.S. adults who Gallup selects address-based sampling methods and random-digit-dial phone interviews that cover landline and cellphones. The sample for this study was weighted to be demographically representative of the U.S. adult population, using the most recent Current Population Survey figures.

For results based on this sample, one can say that the maximum margin of sampling error, which takes into account the design effect from weighting, is ±1.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher for subsamples. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error and bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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