Poll: After Tyre Nichols’ death, Americans favor George Floyd police reform bill
Americans are far more likely to agree that "we need to fix the police by reforming the existing system" than they are to want to "defund and reinvent our approach to public safety."
Americans support every major reform in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, seemingly due to Tyre Nichols’ death at the hands of Memphis police officers.
Even Republicans approve the vast majority of the reforms, according to a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, which surveyed 1,585 adult Americans between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6, Yahoo News reported.
Americans are four and a half times, or 59%, more likely to agree that “we need to fix the police by reforming the existing system” than they are to want to “defund and reinvent our approach to public safety,” which was 13%. They’re three and a half times, or 17%, more likely to believe that “we should not reform or defund the police.”
Majorities, or 74%, support requiring body cameras for law enforcement, establishing a national register of police misconduct (71%), making it simpler to punish officers accused of wrongdoing (6%), and outlawing chokeholds (57%). In each case, roughly 10% to 20% of Americans are opposed.
Even when support for a specific reform is lower — 51% for ending qualified immunity, which protects officers from civil lawsuits; 48% for banning no-knock warrants; and 44% for restricting military-grade equipment given to state and local law enforcement — opposition is still lower.
Republicans tend to be less in favor of each of these policies, but only the reduction of police militarization and the outlawing of no-knock warrants garnered significant opposition from Democrats. Republicans are somewhat more in favor of terminating qualified immunity (37%) than opposed (35%), which is the key obstacle preventing Senate negotiations from moving forward.
Finally, when informed that all of these provisions are part of a bipartisan bill that passed the House in 2021 but hasn’t received a vote in the Senate, Americans say they support the George Floyd Act by a 2-to-1 margin, 52% to 24%. Support is overwhelmingly strong, 81% to 6%, among Democrats, while 28% of Republicans are in favor, 46% are opposed and 26% are unsure.
The bill’s impasse in Congress is largely because of Republicans’ recent takeover of the House. The Yahoo News/YouGov survey indicates that decreasing public urgency may also be a factor, which is nothing new.
Regarding the Nichols case, fewer Americans have seen the video than did the Floyd video. Also, there is a large disparity between the percentage who believes race placed a minor role (47% and 71%) or major role (31% and 57%) in the Nichols and Floyd incidents. The gap, Yahoo reports, is likely because all of the officers involved in the Nichols case are black, which complicates matters.
Abolishing the police, explained
“What we’ve been screaming from our lungs for years is that the system and the culture of policing trains people’s minds regardless of the color of their skin to behave a certain way,” said Jeanelle Austin, head of the Minnesota-based George Floyd Global Memorial.
TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!