Siena College Poll Finds Broad Support for Police Reforms Among NY Voters, But Less for ‘Defunding’

Siena College Poll Finds Broad Support for Police Reforms Among NY Voters, But Less for ‘Defunding’

A new poll from Siena College shows wide support among New York voters for certain police reforms such as creating a national database on police misconduct. Yet most of the voters surveyed oppose the idea of “defunding” the police, according to the poll.

The poll released Tuesday, in the wake of a flurry of legislative activity in Albany around police reform, also found that a majority of surveyed voters said the deaths of Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd “are part of a broader pattern of excessive police violence toward Black people.”

Floyd, a Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned a knee on his neck as the man laid face down on the pavement. Following his death, there were protests across the U.S. against police brutality and the killing of Black Americans by law enforcement, sparking a national reckoning over the intersection of race and policing. 

Eighty-four percent of those surveyed in the poll backed the creation of a national database of officer misconduct while 82% supported having mental health professionals respond with police to 911 calls on drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness. The measures received broad bipartisan support, according to the poll.

Of the voters surveyed, 81% also backed a federal measure to ban police choke holds, the poll reported.

The poll, which surveyed 806 registered voters in New York state, has an overall margin of error of 3.9%. 

The poll comes after New York state politicians passed a series of police reform bills.

“By an overwhelming 80-13 percent margin, voters say the recently passed legislation—including a ban on chokeholds by police, making disciplinary measures public and having a special unit in the State Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute civilian killings by police officers—will be good for New York,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement.

Lawmakers voted to repeal a decades-old law used to shield police disciplinary records from the public. Repeal supporters argued the past provision, which was known as 50-a for its spot in New York’s Civil Rights Law, protected officers with a history of misconduct from public accountability.

The state Legislature also approved measures that ban police choke holds, reaffirm the right to record police activities and mandate body cameras for the New York State Police.

Despite broad support for certain police reforms, the poll found that 60% of those surveyed opposed defunding the police and 57% oppose reducing police department funding.

Defunding the police received strong opposition from Republicans, according to the poll. There was support among Black voters to lessen police department funding while white voters overall opposed the idea, according to the poll.


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Published at Tue, 30 Jun 2020 11:34:00 +0000

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