New polling indicates that a majority of voters view the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) negatively. The survey data indicated a profound racial disagreement over how people perceived the activist movement. It also indicated that the country was evenly split on whether the criminal justice system was stacked against African Americans.
On Aug. 2, a Harvard-Harris survey found that 43 percent of registered voters viewed BLM favorably while 57 percent of respondents viewed the movement unfavorably. Caucasians were far more likely to disapprove of the group than African Americans; 83 percent of black respondents viewed BLM favorably while only 35 percent of white respondents shared that sentiment, The Hill reports.
The poll also found a partisan difference of opinion about BLM. Only 21 percent of Republican respondents viewed the movement favorably while a majority 65 percent of Democrats approved of the group.
While a majority of respondents did not approve of BLM, they did agree one of the movement's' core messages -- 56 percent of overall respondents said that police officers were took quick to use lethal force against African Americans.
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"The public is sympathetic to the problem of police using too much force but overall are unsympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement," concluded co-director Mark Penn of Harvard-Harris. "As you might expect, white voters are sharply negative to the group while African Americans give them positive ratings."
While 57 percent of white respondents said that police were too quick to use force while engaging with citizens, only 45 percent said law enforcement was too quick to use force against African Americans.
And 54 percent of respondents said that law enforcement officers who broke the law were held accountable. Only 23 percent of black respondents agreed with that. Of those polled, 62 percent said that media attention to police brutality had kept law enforcement from being effective while 70 percent said that black-on-black crime was a more serious issue than police brutality against African Americans.
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Lastly, the survey found that respondents were evenly split on whether there was institutional racism in the U.S. justice system; 50 percent of respondents said that the criminal justice system was unfair to racial minorities while 50 percent disagreed.
On March 10, a PRRI survey found that there was a profound partisan disagreement over which groups suffered discrimination. Among Democrats, 82 percent believed that African Americans faced a lot of discrimination while only 19 percent believed whites also faced discrimination. Among Republicans, only 27 percent believed African Americans faced discrimination while 43 percent said whites faced a great deal of discrimination.
In July 2016, BLM organizer DeRay McKesson asserted during an interview that the activist movement was a reaction to public indifference over police brutality against African Americans.
"We should not have to protest," McKesson told MSNBC. "We should not be in the streets ... The movement didn't cause anything, the police killing people is what caused all of this. The movement has been a response to the violence in communities."