Part of a wider-ranging poll from YouGov probing people on the perceived culpability of various players — Obama, Holder, de Blasio, even Al Sharpton. As you might expect, responses in those cases break down sharply along partisan lines with Democrats overwhelmingly saying that each man bears no responsibility and somewhat smaller majorities of Republicans insisting that they do. In each case (except Sharpton, where they’re nearly evenly split), independents side with Dems although by far smaller margins.
When you ask about the Ferguson/Eric Garner protesters, though, you get this. Top line is yes, second line is no, third line is not sure on the question of whether they share any of the blame:
Why the difference here? I’m tempted to say it’s because word got around that some protesters were chanting about “dead cops” a few days before that degenerate killed Officers Ramos and Liu, but it’s hard to know how far the YouTube video of that clip of the chanting penetrated in the public’s consciousness. Fox News viewers might have seen it. How many CNN viewers did? How many people who don’t watch cable news, of which there are many, know that it happened in the first place? Interestingly, while young adults leaned slightly against attributing blame to protesters, senior citizens were heavily inclined to do so, splitting 64/22. Why is that? Cable news audiences do skew much older so maybe this is evidence of the “dead cops” clip’s impact. Or maybe it’s just a sign of a generational split, with twentysomethings more able to relate to street protests than seventysomethings. Another possibility is that it’s harder to draw a line of causation from the murder to something said by an individual politician like Obama, Holder, or de Blasio than it is to draw that line of causation to a huge faceless group whose many members are saying lots of things. I routinely blame “the left” for stuff that I’d be more cautious about blaming any particular lefty for. Maybe that’s showing up here too.
But never mind that. As you get further into the crosstabs, the answers — especially the answers from Republicans — get more … interesting. Here’s what happened when YouGov asked whether elected officials should have more say over how the law is enforced than police do. Top line is officials, second line is police, third line is not sure. Hmmmmmm:
I can … sort of understand that. I’d say elected officials should have the greater say since they’re more accountable to the people against whom the laws are being enforced, but go figure that when you ask about enforcing the law, lots of people (specifically, lots of senior citizens) think “law enforcement” first.
How about this response, though? The question is, “Do you think it is acceptable or unacceptable for elected officials to criticize certain police practices in public?” Note: Not individual police officers. Just police practices generally. And just simple criticism. Top line is “acceptable,” second line is “unacceptable,” third line is “not sure.” Wow:
Sixty-four percent of Republicans think it’s “unacceptable” for their own elected representatives to publicly criticize practices that are being used by public servants against the public? What? Man, Ross Douthat is right: Turns out there’s a very good reason why Rand Paul has steered his criminal justice reforms towards prisons and sentencing and away from cops. President Cruz had better be sure not to give the FBI any guff in front of a microphone or we might just have to impeach him.
There’s one more fascinating data point in all this. Given that men skew Republican and women skew Democratic, you would expect women to reliably side more with Dems on these questions than men do. They don’t. They side with lefties in not blaming Obama et al., but when asked whether protesters deserve some blame for the murders, women split 44/29 in favor of yes versus just 45/40 among men. On the question of whether elected reps or cops should have greater say over law enforcement, women split 38/30 in favor of the cops compared to 41/37 among men. And on the question of whether it’s acceptable for elected officials to publicly criticize police practices, men are evenly divided at 41. Women? They split 34/44 in favor of “unacceptable.” Not sure what to make of all that. Lots of security moms out there, I guess.