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Poll: Americans split on whether more aggressive police action would have calmed, enflamed violent protests

Posted June 2, 2020 7:54 p.m. EDT
Updated June 3, 2020 10:02 a.m. EDT

A recent poll by SurveyUSA found Americans split on the question of whether a stronger police response would have served to limit or worsen violence that spread after protests across the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

Asked whether a more aggressive police response would have meant more or less violence, 48% said more, 22% said it would not have made a difference and 21% said it would have lessened violence.

Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to feel a stronger police response would have reduced violence. Sixty-two percent said that had police responded more aggressively, more protesters would have been injured.

When the same question was worded a different way, though, the responses flipped.

Asked whether a less confrontational response would have meant more or less violence, 36% (and 50% of Republicans), said more and 26% said less, while 27% said it would not have made a difference.

METHODOLOGY: SurveyUSA interviewed 1,450 adults nationwide on June 1, 2020, after Pres. Donald Trump announced he would deploy "thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel" to restore order in American. Of the adults, 88% are registered to vote; 52% are watching "a lot" or "almost all" of the news coverage of the protests. The research was conducted online.

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