Support for Black Lives Matter Plummets Among African Americans: Poll

Support for the Black Lives Matter movement is plummeting, including among African Americans, according to a new poll.

As the country prepares to mark the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd, which sparked a nationwide reckoning on race and policing, the University of Massachusetts Amherst survey found that support for the movement has fallen since last April.

The poll of 1,000 people, conducted by YouGov between May 5 and 9, found support for the movement's goals had decreased from 48 percent to 31 percent.

Meanwhile, support for the movement's strategies and tactics dropped from 40 percent to 31 percent.

Some of the steepest declines in support for the movement were found among African American respondents. Their support for the movement's goals dropped from 67 percent to 56 percent since last April, while support for the movement's strategies and tactics want from 65 percent to 49 percent.

'Growing Tired' of the Movement

"While Black Lives Matter signs still adorn lawns from coast to coast, Americans may be growing tired of the Black Lives Matter movement as support for the strategies, tactics and goals of the movement have experienced a precipitous decline in the past year across demographic and political groups," said Tatishe Nteta, an associate professor of political science at UMass Amherst and the director of the poll.

The poll also found that support for police reform has declined since April last year. Support for reducing funding for state and local police departments to divert money to social services dropped seven points, from 38 percent to 31 percent, while support for banning the use of military grade equipment and weaponry by state and local police fell from 48 percent to 42 percent.

The poll also saw a decline in support for: allowing citizens to sue individual police officers accused of the excessive use of force or misconduct (from 59 percent to 54 percent); for restricting the ability of police officers from deactivating their body cameras (71 percent to 64 percent); and for banning chokeholds by police officers (from 62 percent to 58 percent.)

However, opposition to these measures increased only marginally and in some instances decreased, while about one in four respondents said they neither support nor oppose each proposed reform.

"As incidents of violent crime have increased in the past year and with President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party calling for the use of unused stimulus funds to be directed to police departments across the country, it is no surprise that the public's one-time enthusiasm for policies designed to bring about wholescale changes to the nation's police departments has waned in the past year," added Nteta.

"What is somewhat surprising is that this decline is seen across the board, with ardent supporters of police reforms such as progressives, Democrats, African Americans and young Americans also exhibiting a decrease in their support for these changes. The movement for police reform may have experienced its zenith of support in the United States."

A woman holds Black Lives Matter flag
A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag during an event in remembrance of George Floyd and to call for justice for those who lost loved ones to the police violence outside the Minnesota State Capitol on May 24, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images