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Confidence in Police on the Rise, But Dropping Among the Left

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Police salute

Americans’ confidence in the police has climbed back to its historical average in Gallup’s 25-year trend.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Americans now say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in law enforcement, rebounding from a record-low of 52% in June 2015.

“The return to the historical average comes after confidence edged downward during the tumultuous years of 2014 and 2015,” Gallup reports. “Overall confidence fell from 57% in 2013 to 53% in June 2014, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's acquittal led to the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Confidence in police then dropped to a record-tying low of 52% in June 2015, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained national attention with a series of protests against police shootings of unarmed blacks in New York City; Ferguson, Missouri; and North Charleston, South Carolina.”

According to Gallup, the measure has been on the rise over the past two years, as the percentage of Americans confident in police climbed back to 56 percent in June 2016 and 57 percent in June 2017.

Overall confidence graph

“Only two other institutions (the military and small business) of the 15 others measured this year scored higher than the police,” writes Gallup.

While overall confidence experienced an increase, the measure fell among certain groups including Hispanics, blacks, liberals, and younger adults ages 18-34.

The average confidence from 2012 to 2014 for Hispanics was 59 percent, compared to the average from 2015 to 2017 of 45 percent. For blacks, average confidence dropped from 35 percent to 30 percent.

The drop in confidence is most significant among liberals and young adults.

Among liberals, average confidence fell 12 percent, from 51 percent to 39 percent. Young adults average confidence in police also fell 12 percent, from 56 percent to 44 percent.

Confidence also fell among Democrats and Democrat-leaning respondents, dropping from 52 percent to 44 percent.

Confidence Among Groups

Confidence rose among whites, conservatives, adults 55 and older, Republicans and Republican-leaning respondents.

“The overall percentage of Americans who said they were confident in the police changed little from 2012-2014 (55%) to 2015-2017 (54%). But major differences have emerged among various subgroups over the past three years,” writes Gallup.

The results come just days after an NYPD officer was shot and killed in her patrol car in an “unprovoked attack.”

Officer Miosotis Familia, 48, was a mother of three and a 12-year veteran of the force.

Despite how police officers like Familia risk their lives every day to serve and protect, Americans, much like in Washington when it comes to politics, are divided over their confidence for law enforcement.

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