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Why Most Americans Support the Protests

Two-thirds of Americans think President Trump Made Racial Tensions Worse After George Floyd’s Death

The American public’s views on the pervasiveness of racism have taken a hard leftward turn over the past few years. Never before in the history of modern polling have Americans expressed such widespread agreement that racial discrimination plays a role in policing — and in society at large.

Driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, this shift has primed the country for a new groundswell — one that has quickly earned the sympathy of most Americans, polling shows.

In a Monmouth University poll released this week, 76 percent of Americans — including 71 percent of white people — called racism and discrimination “a big problem” in the United States. That’s a 26-percentage-point spike since 2015. In the poll, 57 percent of Americans said demonstrators’ anger was fully justified, and another 21 percent called it somewhat justified.

In the Monmouth poll, and in another released this week by CBS News, exactly 57 percent of Americans said police officers were generally more likely to treat black people unfairly than to mistreat white people. In both surveys, about half of white people said so. This was a drastic change, particularly for white Americans, who have not historically said they believed that black people continued to face pervasive discrimination.

“There’s definitely been a seismic shift in the country,” said Steve Phillips, a civil rights lawyer and political analyst who founded the advocacy group Democracy in Color.

Majority Think Trump Made Racial Tensions Worse After George Floyd’s Death

Two-thirds of Americans think President Trump has increased racial tensions in the U.S., according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

The poll offers a snapshot of a nation in upheaval after a video captured a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the neck of a black man named George Floyd, who was pleading for his life before he died.

Overall, 67% said Trump has mostly increased racial tensions, including 92% of Democrats, 73% of independents, 88% of Africans Americans and 63% of whites.

Almost 6 in 10 Republicans believe he has either increased tensions (29%) or are not sure (30%). That’s a finding the pollsters see as significant given how in lockstep Republicans have been with Trump on nearly everything.

“It’s very unusual to see Republicans break when the name Trump is presented, but that is the case here,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the poll.

New York Times, NPR