The PJ Tatler

Poll: Majority of New Yorkers Want Protestors Off the Streets

Quinnipiac has released new polling data showing that more than half (57%) of New York City voters want the protestors off the streets of their city. One-third say the protestors should be allowed to block traffic.

Despite the bad press recently, both locally with Eric Garner and nationally with Michael Brown, the police get high marks for the way they’ve been handling the disruptions. “Approval of police handling of demonstrators is 73 – 19 percent, with no group disapproving.”

Although the police get high marks for handling the protestors, 67% disapprove of the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who allegedly choked Eric Garner to death.  Staten Island voters, however, are evenly split with a 44/46 breakdown.

“In the Eric Garner case, New Yorkers agree with the protestors, but they don’t agree with their tactics,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll.

“The Staten Island grand jury got it wrong, New Yorkers say more than 2-1, white and black alike, and they think the feds should go after the police officer. In deploring the grand jury decision, black and white voters agree – blacks overwhelmingly. There’s a big racial split over asking the feds to act; black voters are all for it; white voters are split.

“But we don’t want the protestors to block the streets. Should you express your disagreement by tying up traffic for other people? Most white voters don’t think so. Black voters are more ambivalent.”

A really frightening number revealed in the poll is that 51% say police should stop someone “selling loose cigarettes illegally on a street corner in your neighborhood… even if it means arresting that person.” And even worse, 57% say the police should use “whatever amount of force is necessary” to arrest someone who is resisting.

We shouldn’t enact any law the public is not prepared to use force to impose and isn’t prepared to kill a citizen for breaking. One would hope people would support fewer laws because of this risk, but apparently not.

And along these lines, the poll reveals a bizarre contradiction. Three-quarters of New Yorkers say police brutality is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem and 64% say police are tougher on blacks. So how can one support an environment that enacts idiot laws that should be enforced with “whatever force is necessary” yet believe there is a problem with the way police interact with citizens? The solution is to have fewer laws and to create fewer occasions where people interact with the police. Total cognitive dissonance from the public on this.

Perhaps some of this disconnect comes from the media’s portrayal of these police encounters.  New York voters view police as tougher on blacks…just not in their own neighborhoods. “Almost everyone agrees that cops are tougher on blacks than on whites, except for cops in their own neighborhood,” Carroll said.

From December 10 – 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,374 New York City voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.