De-funding the police has become one of the rallying cries of Black Lives Matter and other political movements. The call follows George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis Police and several other high-profile incidences of police misconduct. But while some cities, such as Seattle, New York, Minneapolis, and now Austin, have taken action to move money away from police budgets, it’s not clear that citizens agree, at least in political battleground states.
There are six states that could go either way in the presidential election that have enough electoral votes to change the outcome. Among them are Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Heritage Action for America, a branch of the decidedly conservative Heritage Foundation, conducted a survey in those states to gauge people’s view on reducing police funding. The results were overwhelmingly one-sided.
Among those polled, 69% said they “somewhat opposed” de-funding the police, and 10% said they “strongly opposed,” for a total of 79% against. Just 8% said they “somewhat favored” such action, and another 8% said they “strongly favored” the move. Just 5% were undecided.
The poll also asked respondents if they viewed the current protests as continuing the original theme of protesting against racial injustice, or if the protests had become riots by people who want to change the American culture. 42% said the protests are still about racial injustice while 49% said they’d become riots, and 9% did not answer.
It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out not only in national elections, but in local elections. There are business owners in Minneapolis, Seattle, New York, Portland, and other cities who probably wish there were more police officers available to protect their property.