Majority of Republicans Say Police Treat Black, White People Equally: Poll

A majority of Republicans, 57 percent, say police officers treat black people and white people equally, according to a new CBS News poll released Tuesday.

Americans have widely divided views on how law enforcement officers interact with their communities, as Republicans and Democrats expressed radically different opinions of policing in the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death in Minneapolis. Eighty percent of Democrats said police generally treat white people more favorably than black people, an opinion agreed upon by only 29 percent of their GOP counterparts. Views on President Donald Trump's treatment of white, black and Hispanic communities also varied widely based upon the race of the person who responded.

Only 3 percent of black Americans said they "strongly approve" of Trump's response to Floyd's death and the ensuing protests in cities across the country. Seventy-eight percent of black Americans said whites are treated better by police and a slim 52 percent majority of white Americans agreed.

A majority of Hispanic Americans, 57 percent, said police officers treat whites better than blacks in response to the CBS News survey conducted between May 29 and June 1, amid both peaceful and violent protests over Floyd's death. The poll was done in partnership with YouGov among a sample of 2,071 U.S. adult residents.

In terms of political ideology, a 60 percent majority of self-identifying conservatives said blacks and white are treated equally by law enforcement, while only 13 percent of liberals said the same. Fewer than one-in-five (19 percent) of blacks said white and black communities are treated with equal footing.

Nine percent of Republicans said blacks are actually treated better by police than white people, a statement agreed upon by fewer than 3 percent of Independents and Democrats.

A sizable share of Americans from all political parties and races agreed they've not heard enough from either Trump or presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in regards to the civil unrest. Thirty-eight percent of black respondents said Biden hasn't said enough, but 30 percent of black Americans said they "strongly approve" of his response - 10 times the number who praised the president.

A 61 percent majority of black Americans said they "strongly disapprove" of the president's response, but only about half that percentage of white Americans agreed with the emphatic criticism. Forty-one percent of Republicans said they strongly approve of Trump's response, compared to just 4 percent of Democrats who said the same.

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. registered voters from all political affiliations and racial backgrounds said they believe the president favors whites. Only 5 percent of Americans in the survey said he "works against whites" and about one-quarter said he is neutral in his attitudes toward white people.

In tweets responding to the Floyd protests last week, Trump labeled some of the protesters "thugs" and said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." According to the poll, 84 percent of Democrats said Trump uses Twitter primarily to divide Americans but 77 percent of Republicans disagreed. Among black Americans, more than three-quarters of people said the president tweets mainly to sow division and 62 percent of Hispanics said the same of Trump's Twitter behavior.

police white black people treatment
A majority of Republicans say police officers treat black people and white people equally, according to a new CBS News poll released Tuesday. OLIVIER DOULIERY / Contributor/Getty Images