A Morning Consult poll taken May31-June 1, found that 58 percent of Americans support using the military to help local police in tamping down the violence in cities. Just 30 percent oppose using the troops.
That’s a pretty healthy majority. Support for using the military as an adjunct to the police is about as partisan as any other issue.
Furthermore, 33 percent (one-third) of respondents said they “strongly” support sending in the military, while an additional 25 percent (one-quarter) said they “somewhat” support the move. Only 19 percent of voters “strongly” opposed deploying the military, while 11 percent “somewhat” opposed it. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Republicans were more likely to support the proposal, with 77 percent in favor of sending in military troops. Among Democrats, 48 percent said they’d support deploying troops to cities rocked by protests. And 52 percent of independents also backed such action.
Even a healthy percentage of liberals support using the troops.
The proposition was more popular among older voters, whites and conservatives, with 75% of self-identified conservatives, 68% of voters over the age of 65 and 60% of white voters saying they’d either strongly support or somewhat support sending in the military.
But the poll showed a large chunk of voters usually associated with the Democratic Party also are open to deploying troops, with 43% of voters under 34, 40% of self-identified “liberals” and 37% of African-Americans saying they’d support sending in the military to help police.
Trump has gotten a lot of heat for saying that if governors and mayors can’t restore order he would send in the troops. And this Reuters poll would seem to confirm that the people don’t like the way he’s handling the crisis.
The survey conducted on Monday and Tuesday found 64% of American adults were “sympathetic to people who are out protesting right now,” while 27% said they were not and 9% were unsure.
The poll underscored the political risks for Trump, who has adopted a hardline approach to the protests and threatened to deploy the U.S. military to quell violent dissent. The Republican president faces Democrat Joe Biden in November’s election.
More than 55% of Americans said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of the protests, including 40% who “strongly” disapproved, while just one-third said they approved – lower than his overall job approval of 39%, the poll showed.
Trump’s “handling” of the protests includes a lot of jawboning but not much action. Indeed, there’s not much he can do as president except urge mayors and governors to do their job.
But when specifics are added to the equation, people instinctively side with the president wanting to bring order to the chaos.
How this plays out politically will be interesting to see. Do people want someone being portrayed as strong and decisive? Or do they want a president portrayed as “feeling your pain”? It may end up being the question that decides the election.