Two-Thirds of Voters Want Congress to Investigate 2020 Riots
Now that House Democrats have created a committee to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot, most voters believe Congress should also investigate the Black Lives Matter protests that sparked violence in major cities last year.
A new national telephone and online survey by the National Police Association and Rasmussen Reports finds that 66% of Likely U.S. Voters think Congress should investigate last year’s violent protests, in which more than 2,000 police officers suffered injuries in the line of duty. Twenty-one percent (21%) don’t think Congress should investigate last year’s protests, and 13% were not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The survey found strong voter support for law enforcement on issues ranging from display of the “Thin Blue Line” flag to prosecution of so-called “quality of life” crimes.
According to a study of 68 cities by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, in the summer of 2020, there were at least 574 protests that involved acts of violence, including assaults on police officers, looting and arson. The number of voters who want Congress to investigate last year’s violent protests is higher than the 49% who say they support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee investigation of the January 6 Capitol riot. Forty-two percent (42%) say they don’t support the January 6 investigation.
The survey of 996 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted July 16-18, 2021 by the National Police Association and 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.
Majorities of every racial group and political affiliation support a congressional investigation of last year’s violent protests. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of whites, 64% of black voters, 66% of Hispanics and 62% of other minorities think Congress should investigate the 2020 riots in U.S. cities. Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans, 60% of Democrats and 63% of voters not affiliated with either major party say Congress should investigate last year’s violent protests.
In analyzing the survey results, the National Police Association (NPA) blamed reaction of elected officials to last year’s protests, which began after the death of George Floyd during a May arrest in Minneapolis, for a subsequent rise in violent crime.
“When the mayors of cities in which violent riots took place in 2020 refused to let police immediately stop the crimes taking place, it sent a message to violent criminals across the nation that crimes will be allowed and criminals won’t be touched,” the NPA said in a statement. “For the last year violent crimes have increased nationally and the lack of support from politicians has resulted in the number of police officers declining into a short staffing recruitment and retention crisis.”
Among the findings of the survey:
-- Sixty-five percent (65%) believe President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should meet with the family of St. Louis Police Capt. David Dorn, who was murdered in 2020 when he was protecting his friend’s business from looters, just as they did with the family of George Floyd.
-- Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters think participants in the nationwide 2020 rioting and looting should be criminally charged, as were those who took part in the January 6 Capitol riot.
-- Sixty-five percent (65%) disagree with Black Lives Matter activists who claim that the U.S. flag and the pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flags are symbols of racism.
-- Fifty-three percent (53%) think Congress should award medals to the law enforcement agencies that defended their cities from violent looters and rioters in 2020 similar to the awards proposed by Nancy Pelosi for the Capitol Police.
-- Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters believe that elected officials who downplay the nationwide 2020 rioting and looting deserve to be criticized, a number higher than the 51% who believe politicians deserve criticism for downplaying the January 6 Capitol riot.
-- Sixty-eight percent (68%) think that refusing to prosecute trespassing, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, receiving stolen property, breaking and entering, resisting arrest and other “quality of life” crimes is likely to increase the commission of those crimes.
-- An overwhelming 76% of voters believe young people should be taught to comply with police rather than resist or flee arrest.
Belief that failure to prosecute “quality of life” crimes increases the level of crime shows strong majorities in all racial groups, including 59% of black voters and 70% of Hispanics, and across political categories, with 77% of Republicans, 60% of Democrats and 65% of unaffiliated voters agreeing.
The National Police Association emphasized the connection between last year’s riots and the increase in crime. In the aftermath of the 2020 riots, said NPA spokesperson retired police Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, “Many elected officials of both parties and at all levels followed up, not by apologizing to their citizens for failing to uphold the law, but by accusing police officers of systemic racism, being in need of reform, reimagining and defunding.”
Protesters last year made “Defund the Police” their slogan, but fewer than one in five voters think America should spend less on police, and a majority want to spend more.
Criticism of police from politicians isn’t improving law enforcement, according to a majority of voters who say anti-police rhetoric makes life more dangerous for cops.
The survey of 996 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on July 16-18, 2021 by the National Police Association and 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.
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