Poll: Americans Reject Black Lives Matter’s Myth of Racist Police
New Harvard-Harris survey suggests sharp racial disparity in perception of movement
A recent poll reveals that a majority of Americans disapprove of Black Lives Matter and its mission.
The latest Harvard-Harris Poll, a monthly survey of Americans’ political opinions administered by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and Harris Insights and Analytics, found that a majority of Americans — 57 percent — have an unfavorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement, while only 43 percent approve of it.
The poll also reveals the extent to which the Democratic Party is out of step with the average American voter, having “tied its fate to identity politics and to the conceit that America is endemically racist,” said Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe.”
Indeed, while the poll revealed a relatively slight majority of Americans holding an unfavorable view of Black Lives Matter specifically, the overwhelming majority of respondents said black-on-black crime was a bigger issue than police violence. A total of 70 percent of respondents said black-on-black crime is a bigger problem in black communities than police violence against blacks.
“No person of good faith doubts that black lives matter. Of course, all lives matter, even though former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was booed for saying so at a debate during the Democratic primaries,” William Otis, Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School, told LifeZette. “The only serious question, and the main question obscured by the Black Lives Matter movement, is how best to protect them.”
“We know the answer to that question, because we markedly improved the protection of black lives for an entire generation, from the early 90s up until the last two years of the Obama Administration,” he continued. “We succeeded in protecting black lives, and the rest of our citizens, too, by exactly the programs Black Lives Matter so bitterly opposes: more police, more aggressive and proactive policing, reigning in naïve sentencing judges, and significantly increased use of incarceration. A criminal in jail is not ransacking your house in the afternoon while you’re at work or selling smack to your teenager.”
Otis added: “It’s encouraging that a large majority of all voters, 70 percent, understand that black-on-black violence — an ugly, everyday occurrence in American cities — wreaks far more damage than police abuses. While such abuses must be honestly confronted and curbed using all the tools of the law, reality is what it is. By far the major source of misery in black communities is violent crime, much of it driven by drug gangs. We are not going to succeed in suppressing that violence by hectoring or handcuffing the police. Instead, we are simply going to accelerate the devastating crime trends of at least the last 24 months.”
The study also shows a wide gap in the perception of Black Lives Matter between blacks and whites. A total of 65 percent of whites hold a negative opinion of the movement, while a whopping 83 percent of black respondents hold positive opinions towards the movement.
“Last July, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus [Rep. G.K. Butterfield] stood up in Congress and announced that most of the people killed by the police that year had been black. In fact, as of that date, 51 percent of the victims of fatal police shootings had been white, and 27 percent had been black,” Mac Donald told LifeZette.
“Representative G.K. Butterfield’s ignorance of the facts regarding police shootings is widely shared among blacks (and whites), a result in large part of the media’s exclusive attention to a handful of police shootings of black men,” Mac Donald continued. “That ignorance feeds the support among blacks for Black Lives Matter, coupled with the careful cultivation of victim ideology by academia.”
“It’s a tragic irony that, as the Newsweek poll suggests, African-American citizens have been taken in by the dishonest rhetoric, cherry-picking examples, and red-meat sloganeering that are causing black communities so much loss and grief,” Otis echoed.
While nothing is conclusive, the Harvard-Harris survey findings suggest a possible shift in attitudes towards the Black Lives Matter movement among both blacks and whites, reflecting an increase in political polarization along racial lines.
A July 2016 Pew Survey found that the exact same percent of Americans, 57 percent, disapprove of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, in that 2016 Pew survey a larger portion of whites, 40 percent, had positive opinions of Black Lives Matter, while a smaller percentage of blacks, 65 percent, had positive opinions of the movement.
Therefore, if the latest Harvard-Harris poll is to be considered equally as valid an indicator of public opinion as the 2016 Pew survey, the latest findings suggest that the number of whites who disapprove of Black Lives Matter may have increased by 30 percent, while the percentage of blacks who approve of the movement may have increased by nearly 20 percent.
That doesn’t bode well for the activist black community. “BLM’s visceral opposition to the police damages the country in ways beyond its possible incitement of violence against officers,” said Otis. “It chills effective policing, and it’s the underlying rationale for consent decrees that curb the kind of law enforcement that works against crime,” he said.
“The majority of citizens noted by the poll is correct, and should remain resolute in their opposition to Black Lives Matter — precisely because black lives matter.”