No wonder Democratic politicians keep trying to walk away from this issue. The idea of taking funds away from municipal police departments might have more support in quieter times, but … that’s not the political landscape at the moment. With riots erupting in major cities this summer, most people would likely see a need for more law enforcement resources as their most acute concern.
And voila, Rassmussen’s latest survey shows pretty much exactly that same concern. In fact, it shows that concern shared by a majority in almost all demographics, including the one that “defund the police” activists claim to represent:
Opposition is growing to efforts by the political left to defund the police, with most Americans convinced that such a move will lead to more violent crime.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 66% of American Adults now oppose reducing the police budget in the community where they live to channel that money into more social services. That’s up from 59% in early June when we first asked this question. Just 23% favor defunding the cops where they live, down from 27% in the previous survey. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Calls for defunding the police are being aggressively championed by the Black Lives Matter movement, but even among black Americans, 57% are opposed to defunding the police in their home community. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of whites and 62% of other minority adults share that view.
Remarkably, there isn’t a single demographic that favors defunding the police, or even reducing police budgets, which is how Rasmussen frames the question. “Do you favor or oppose reducing the police budget in the community where you live?” The most favorable demo to that idea in the entire poll is Democrats, who oppose it 37/50. Even the younger demographic of under-40s oppose it 26/61.
Large majorities in almost every demographic also predict that a defund policy will backfire if implemented. Overall, it’s 61/12 that believe violent crime will increase rather than decrease, with another 20% believing it will make no difference. The only demos with a mere plurality on that question are African-Americans, 46/14/33, and Democrats, 45/18/30.
Some may quibble about Rasmussen polling at times when it comes to horse-race surveys; in this cycle, we should be skeptical about the predictive quality of all polling anyway. The gaps and depth on these questions likely put these results beyond question, however. Not only are we clearly not dealing with narrow statistical anomalies, we have evidence of what happens when police resources are either cut or restrained, every day on television. Crime has skyrocketed this year, violent and otherwise, in the general retreat of policing wherever it has occurred. It’s hardly a surprise that policies forcing that restraint to become permanent would be deeply unpopular, or to see people connecting the dots in real time as to the consequences.
The question will be whether voters can stop politicians from pursuing these policies. Will they have enough clout to overcome the influence of the media and celebrity activism, or will local and state officials fear their disapproval more than that of the voters? The only way to ensure the former over the latter is to vote out those who spend more time with the media than with the voters.