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Students show mixed support for police and movement to defund

(Bryan Denton/ The New York Times)

With the nation spasming in response to the killing of George Floyd, attitudes toward police, funding and campus security have shifted under the surface. Yet, glaring rifts across races and political affiliation still suggests high polarization in many places.

Some of the major trends:

1. Students support Defund the Police, but support its stated measures (without the name) even more.

2. Most students say the police make them and their communities safer, but oppose having armed security on college campuses.

3. There is emphatic support for the Black Lives Matter movement across political and racial lines.

The backdrop: These findings emerge after Senate leaders introduced ambitious legislation to renovate the police system by "increas[ing] transparency," and improve "practices [and] training."

Check below for this study's key findings, full report and methodology.

Full Results

College Rection poll  n= 970 college students | June 17-19 

Policing • 71% of students say police make them and their communities safer o But only 37% of Black students say the police make them safer o Compared to 78% of white students who say the police make them safer On-campus: Yet, 60% of students oppose armed officers on campus o 30% of Republicans oppose armed officers on campus compared to 77% of Democrats

Defund the Police 64% of students support the Defund the Police movement (Compared to 34% of the general public) Yet, 75% of students support reallocating police funds toward housing, mental health and education (the stated goal of the movement)

• And, the racial gap persists: 83% of Black students support the movement compared to 61% of white students

Black Lives Matter • 88% of students support the Black Lives Matter movement (compared to 60% of general public)

o 64% of Republican students support the Black Lives Matter movement (compared to 28% of all Republicans)

About College Reaction: College Reaction is a polling and research source gauging student thought on critical issues like politics, tech, social trends, science and health. We aim to translate youth trends and tastes for American media, business and mainstream discourse, with findings featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, Axios, The Atlantic and other sources.

Introduced the bill:

- Cory Booker (D-NJ)

- Kamala Harris (D-CA),

- Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA),

- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),

- Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD),

- Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC),

- Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY),

- Katherine Clark (D-MA),

- Barbara Lee (D-CA),

- John Lewis (D-GA),

- Alma Adams (D-NC),

- Pete Aguilar (D-CA),

- Collin Allred (D-TX),

- Nanette Barragán (D-CA),

- Joyce Beatty (D-OH),

- Ami Bera (D-CA),

- Don Beyer (D-VA),

- Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA),

- Earl Blumenauer (D-OR),

- Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE),

- Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR),

- Brendan Boyle (D-PA),

- Anthony G. Brown (D-MD),

- Julia Brownley (D-CA),

- G.K. Butterfield (D-NC),

- Cheri Bustos (D-IL),

- Salud Carbajal (D-CA),

- Tony Cárdenas (D-CA),

- Andre Carson (D-IN),

- Matt Cartwright (D-PA),

- Kathy Castor (D-FL),

- Joaquin Castro (D-TX),

- Judy Chu (D-CA),

- David N. Cicilline (D-RI),

- Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY),


Data in this report are generated from a poll conducted June 17-19, 2020. A total of 970 panelists participated in the poll.

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically-representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college email address as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target population for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the US.

Respondents in this poll were randomly selected from a respondent database, which aims to mirror the broader college demographic from a racial, geographic and political standpoint and weighted to reflect the broader college demographic as defined by the National Center for Education statistics.

Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Susan Davis (D-CA), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Val B. Demings (D-FL), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Sylvia R. García, (D-TX), Al Green (D-TX), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Denny Heck (D-WA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bill Keating (D-MA) Mike Kelly (D-PA), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Al Lawson (D-FL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Richard E. Neal (D-MA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Scott Peters (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-V.I.), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), David E. Price (D-NC), Jamie Raskin, (D-MD), Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL), Bobby Scott (D-VA), David Scott (D-GA), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Adam Smith (D-WA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and John Yarmuth (D-KY).

CR - Race, Policing and Politics (2)
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