A majority of Americans believe racial discrimination against black people is a serious problem, according to a new poll.
The NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll queried Americans from July 8 to July 10 on the shootings of two black men at the hands of police officers, as well as the July 7 sniper attack that claimed the lives of five police officers and injured half a dozen others in Dallas.
Fifty-two percent of Americans said overall discrimination against blacks is "an extremely or very serious problem," according to NBC News.
But support for the Black Lives Matter movement varies enormously between Americans who identify as Republicans or Democrats. Seventy percent of self-described Republicans said they disapprove of Black Lives Matter, while 73 percent of Democrats said they support the movement. Independents are more evenly split -- 42 percent approve of Black Lives Matter, while 39 percent disapprove, the survey found.
That partisan divide is reflected in attitudes toward discrimination as well. While more than three-fourths of all Democrats told pollsters that racial discrimination is "extremely/very serious," only 23 percent of Republicans said they felt the same way. Forty-two percent of Republicans said discrimination is not a serious problem, compared to only 4 percent of Democrats.
That attitude is reflected in the public statements of prominent members of both parties. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made headlines on July 11 when he told Fox News that Black Lives Matter activists don't "care about the 90 percent of blacks that are killed by other blacks," the Associated Press reports.
The Republican, best known for steering New York City through the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, said that Black Lives Matter does more harm than good.
"It's inherently racist because, number one, it divides us," Giuliani said. "All lives matter."
Vice President Joe Biden, asked to respond to Giuliani's opinion, told CNN that he and President Barack Obama believe changes need to be made to police culture and training. At the same time, the administration condemns violence, he said.
"There's nothing inconsistent with supporting the police and acknowledging the problems that exist in terms of dealing with the communities that, in fact, are feeling put upon," Biden said. "I'm feeling good about the direction this is going."