According to the latest Monmouth poll, 61 percent of Americans say the way President Donald Trump is handling nationwide protests is actually worsening things, not making them better.
“Most Americans (61%) say that Trump’s handling of the protests has made the situation worse and just 24% say he has made it better. These results are basically unchanged from late June (62% worse and 20% better). Nearly 9 in 10 non-Republicans say Trump has made the situation worse, including 88% who are white, 87% who are Black, and 86% who are of another racial minority group. Republicans and GOP-leaners stand alone in their feeling that the president has made the situation better (46%) rather than worse (30%). These findings are similar to the late June poll results,” Monmouth observes.
Additionally: “A plurality (45%) think that Joe Biden would have handled this situation better if he was president. Another 28% say he would have done worse and 23% say he would have handled it about the same as Trump. Three-quarters of non-Republicans – 76% white, 82% Black, and 71% another race/ethnicity – say Biden would have handled the situation better while a majority (55%) of Republicans and GOP-leaners say he would have done worse.”
Monmouth’s polling found that most Americans (65 percent) believe there is a significant problem with law and order in the country right now. 25 percent say maintaining law and order is a minor problem; eight percent said it isn’t a problem at all. 77 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said it’s a major problem while just 46 percent of white non-Republicans agree. Black non-Republicans are more likely than white non-Republicans to feel this way, however (60 percent). Those of another race or ethnicity are even more likely (66 percent).
“It appears we are looking at a divergence between politics and experience. Among white Americans, partisanship creates a clear dividing line on whether law and order is a problem. But for people of color, partisan identity does not seem to be driving their opinion on this issue,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Protests against racial injustice and police brutality have continued across the country since May, when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Demonstrations have intensified in recent weeks as more cases of police brutality, such as the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, make the news, at times sparking significant civil unrest.
With this in mind, 14 percent of Americans believe race relations will improve “a lot” in their lifetime; 28 percent say they will improve “a little” as a result of the protests. 21 percent believe race relations will worsen and 31 percent say race relations won’t change at all. Despite this, most Americans remain “optimistic” about the future of race relations in the country, with 29 percent saying they are “very hopeful” and 54 percent saying they are “somewhat hopeful” that the movement will spur positive changes.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.