Perhaps the most startling findings of our survey are the country’s deep and clear divisions along racial lines on matters related to criminal justice. A majority of African American voters believe that prejudice remains prevalent. In the wake of grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers involved in deaths of unarmed African-Americans in Staten Island and Ferguson, African-American voters listed racism as their top concern facing the country.

  • We found that 74% of Americans continue to view their local police as trustworthy; but that number drops among black voters: only 12% of African Americans said local police are trustworthy. 
  • Twenty-five percent of white voters said they considered local police very trustworthy, and 22% of white voters said law enforcement was very trustworthy. We probed the impact of recent events in Staten Island and Ferguson by asking voters which statement they agreed with more: The grand juries’ decisions were evidence of racial bias in our law enforcement system, or that these were isolated events and the system is generally fair. 
  • Sixty percent of voters indicated that these were isolated events that did not reflect on the fairness of the system, but Americans are deeply divided by race, age, and party. 
  • Over 80% of African Americans and 54% of Hispanics said they believe that our law enforcement system treats whites and blacks differently. Fifty-two percent of voters under 40, regardless of race, also agreed that the system
    is biased, as did 57% of Democrats, 39% of Independents, and 22% of Republicans.

To read our additional findings on race relations, download our full report.

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