A Gallup poll released on Monday shows 76 percent of Americans have a “great deal” of respect for police in their area, a 12 percent increase from 2015.
In the poll conducted Oct. 5-9, 17 percent of people said they had “some” respect” while 7 percent said they had “hardly any.” Gallup has asked the question “How much respect do you have for the police in your area — a great deal, some or hardly any?” nine times since 1965 in annual crime polls.
“The percentage who say they respect the police is significantly higher now than in any measurement taken since the 1990s and is just 1 point below the high of 77 percent recorded in 1967,” Gallup said. “Solid majorities of Americans have said they respect their local law enforcement in all polls conducted since 1965.”
Gallup said the increase in shootings of police, such as the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas in June, coincided with high-profile incidents of law enforcement officials shooting and killing unarmed black men, such as the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango in El Cajon, Calif.
“Despite the flaring of racial tensions after these incidents, respect for local police has increased among both whites and nonwhites,” Gallup writes. “Four in five whites (80 percent) say they have a great deal of respect for police in their area, up 11 points from last year. Meanwhile, two in three non-whites (67 percent) report having the same level of respect, an increase of 14 points from last year.”
White Americans have been more likely than non-white Americans to say they respect local law enforcement since 2000, Gallup adds.
The poll, which has a 4 percent margin of error, was conducted via telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,017 adults over the age of 18 in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
When split along ideology, respect for police is highest among Republicans with 86 percent and conservatives with 85 percent saying they have a “great deal” of respect for police — higher than the 68 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of liberals say they have a “great deal” of respect.”
“The sharp increase over the past year in professed respect for local law enforcement comes as many police say they feel they are on the defensive — both politically and for their lives while they are on duty — amid heated national discussions on police brutality and shootings,” Gallup wrote. “It’s unclear whether the spike in respect for police will have staying power or if it reflects mostly a reaction to the retaliatory killings against police officers last summer.”
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