Views on racism, protests grow more partisan this summer

Views on racism, protests grow more partisan this summer

New CNN Politics Poll Conducted by SSRS

As protests against police violence toward Black Americans continue on, public opinion about racism in American society and over the related protests are becoming more divided by party, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

Overall, Americans are now less likely than they were earlier this summer — when protests sparked by the death of George Floyd began — to say that racism is a big problem in society (67% said so then, 55% feel that way now). And while there has been some decline across party lines in that sentiment, the drop has come most sharply among Republicans. In June, 43% said racism was a big problem in society; now, just 22% say the same. Among Democrats, 84% feel that way, compared with 90% in June. Among independents, 57% say it’s a big problem vs. 63% in June.

The partisan dynamic is similar in the poll’s findings about peaceful protests in response to incidents where African Americans have been harmed or killed by police. Overall, 72% call those protests justified, down from 84% in June, and the shift has again been steepest among Republicans (from 79% saying they were justified in June to 60% now).

Fewer overall (24%) say that violent protests are justified in this situation, but that number holds largely steady compared with June (27%).