The subject of U.S. policing is contentious. But recent surveys show many areas of overlap when it comes to police reform.
There is sometimes a faulty perception that Democrats support many kinds of deep policy changes, while Republicans oppose most reform efforts. Yet the data shows broad support for various types of police reforms, and widespread opposition to some of the most far-reaching and dramatic proposals.
For instance, support for an issue such as requiring body cameras often receive the support of 90% or more of Americans, and about a dozen other policies have support of three-quarters or more of the public. Meanwhile, a June 2020 survey from Pew Research Center found just 25% of Americans said spending on policing in their area should be decreased.
Survey data showing overlaps between Democrats and Republicans on police reform are found below. This overview builds off of a previous United News Roundup article that described overlaps but could not cover survey data with this level of depth.
From Arnold Ventures (survey published August 25, 2020)
- 91% of Americans supported requiring body cameras for all civilian interactions, including 94% of Democrats and 88% of Republicans
- 88% of Americans supported requiring DOJ investigation after lethal force
- 87% of Americans supported establishing co-responder programs
- 85% of Americans supported creating a national use-of-force standard, including 91% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans
- 84% of Americans supported incentives for police departments to hire locally
- 83% of Americans supported increasing funding for rehabilitation & job training
- 82% of Americans supported creating a public database on officer misconduct
- 82% of Americans supported creating a national standard for body camera footage
- 77% of Americans supported automatic record sealing after five years for low-level offenses
- 76% of Americans supported banning “no-knock” search warrants
- 74% of Americans supported banning chokeholds when lethal force not required
From GALLUP (survey conducted June 23-July 6, 2020)
- 97% of Americans supported requiring officers to have good relations with the community
- 96% of Americans supported changing management practices so officer abuses are punished
- 82% of Americans supported promoting community-based alternatives such as violence intervention
- Only 15% of Americans supported abolishing the police, including 27% of Democrats and 1% of Republicans
From Ipsos Poll (survey conducted June 18-22, 2020)
- Nearly all Americans supported officers wearing and using body cameras, including 92% of Democrats and 91% of Republicans
- Large majorities of Americans supported requiring all police officers to undergo training on de-escalation tactics to avoid the use of force, including 91% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans
- 71% of Americans said that disrespect of police officers is a serious problem, including 83% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats
- Only 7% of Americans wanted policing to stay the same
- Only 4% of Americans favored keeping a police officer on duty after they have been found to have used excessive force
From Pew Research Center (survey conducted June 16-22, 2020)*
- 90% of Americans at least somewhat favored creating a Federal database to track officers accused of misconduct
- 75% of Americans at least somewhat favored giving civilian oversight boards power to investigate and discipline officers accused of inappropriate use of force or other misconduct
- 74% of Americans at least somewhat favored requiring officers to live in the places they police
- 74% of Americans at least somewhat favored making it a crime for police to use chokeholds or strangleholds
- 73% of Americans said that spending on their local police should stay about the same as it is now or be increased from its current level
- 71% of Americans strongly favored requiring police to be trained in nonviolent alternatives to deadly force, including 84% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans
*All Democrats and Republicans in the surveys include leaners.
From AP-NORC poll (survey conducted June 11-15, 2020)
- 87% of Americans supported requiring officers to report misconduct by their peer, including 92% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans
- 80% of Americans supported requiring all officers to participate in more extensive racial bias training, including 91% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans
- 69% of Americans supported penalizing police supervisors for racially-biased policing by their subordinate officers, including 80% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans
From Common Ground of The American People (survey published in August 2020)
- 82% of Americans supported making it a duty for officers to intervene in cases where another officer is using excessive force, including 94% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans
- 73% of Americans supported prohibiting chokeholds and other neck restraints, including 91% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans
- 72% of Americans supported requiring officers to receive training to address implicit racial bias, including 89% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans
- 70% of Americans supported incentivizing states to hire an independent prosecutor in cases against an officer who used deadly force, including 86% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans
Hyria Stuart is a college student currently studying in Beijing. He majors in social work and serves as a political research assistant (American/international politics) at Boston College while planning to pursue a graduate degree (Public Administration/Policy) in the U.S. He has been interning as a policy analyst and editor since April 2020, focusing on nonpartisan proposals seeking to bring Americans together. He helped re-elect Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) in 2020 as a campaign intern. Hyria has published in “Raise the Voices.” His political bias is Lean Left.
This piece was edited by Managing Editor Henry Brechter (Center bias), and was reviewed by James Coan (Center bias) of Braver Angels. Correspondence can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.