Poll: “Inner-City” Voters on Crime and Policing
In our most recent poll, we decided to survey residents from select cities across the US, focusing on ZIP codes with the highest frequencies of violent crime (and civil unrest as a result of policing). This includes portions of the following cities, chosen for both the reasons mentioned above, as well as for geographic and demographic diversity:
- Chicago, IL
- Milwaukee, WI
- Memphis, TN
- Oakland, CA
The central question was essentially this: how do inner-city voters view their relative city’s crime and police force, and how might this influence the policy positions of the upcoming election?
Some highlights from the poll:
When asked to what degree they have confidence in their police force’s ability to combat crime, the majority of respondents indicated that they are at least “somewhat confident,” while a minority indicated that they are either “not very” or “not at all” confident. This should come as somewhat of a surprise, given the high incidences of crime, and relative publicity attached to some of these cities’ police forces.
|Total not confident:||25%|
When asked whether the police or other members of the community are more effective at protecting their community, respondents were less certain:
Next, we posed a question to determine the degrees to which residents fear the police vs. gangs. This of course assumes that there is at least some degree of fear among the community, but we believe that this assumption is justified given the recent nature of interactions between police and the community (African-Americans in particular). When asked whether they would prefer to be stopped on the street by a police officer or a member of a local gang, the results were striking:
In more general terms, we asked what respondents believe to be the most important issue facing their community, given a list of six options. While respondents overwhelmingly indicated that jobs/poverty is the the most important issue, crime and police brutality tied for second place.
|Jobs and Poverty:||42%|
This poll illustrates the difficulty of presenting any single policy solution to the issues faced by residents of the affected areas. Given these challenges, it seems inexcusable that so few surveys of inner-city residents exist; hopefully we can shed more light on these voices in the future.
The survey was conducted on September 23rd and 24th, 2016. A total of 604 respondents answered the survey, carrying a margin of error of 4%.