Americans’ trust in the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen, poll finds


More Americans have lost faith in the Black Lives Matter movement and have more trust in local law enforcement ever since social justice protests swept the country in the summer, a new poll finds.

Conducted by USA Today and Ipsos, results showed that 60 percent of U.S. adults trusted the movement back in June, which fell to 50 percent by March 2021 – a decrease of 16 percent.  

Meanwhile, trust in local police has risen from 56 percent during the summer to 69 percent in the spring, an increase of 23 percent.

What’s more, views have changed about the role former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, played in the death of black man George Floyd.

More Americans believe that Floyd’s death is not a murder and that Chauvin either didn’t do anything wrong, or it was an accident – with a great difference in the perspective of black people compared to whites. 

Chauvin is due to go on trial for Floyd’s death in Minneapolis next week. 

A new poll from USA Today and Ipsos found 60% percent of U.S. adults trusted the Black Lives Matter movement in June, which fell to 50% by March 2021. The same pill found faith in local police rose from 56% during the summer to 69% in the spring

Trust in the BLM movement has decreased for both black and white Americans, and both groups have seen an increase in police trust. Pictured: The scene of protests at a Portland police precinct on in Portland, Oregon, August 2020

Trust in the BLM movement has decreased for both black and white Americans, and both groups have seen an increase in police trust. Pictured: The scene of protests at a Portland police precinct on in Portland, Oregon, August 2020

The poll was conducted on March 1 and March 2 with 1,165 U.S. adults participating.

Results were then compared to a similar poll conducted in June.

In June, several protests broke out in the streets, calling for racial and justice reform in law enforcement, over the deaths of black Americans like Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Amhaud Arbery.

During that month 60 percent of respondents said they trusted the Black Lives Matter movement to promote justice and equal treatment for people of all races and 56 percent rusted local police to do the same.

Now, nine months later, only 50 percent said they have faith in the Black Lives Matter movement and 69 percent said they trust law enforcement. 

Black survey participants and white participants differ on this issue.  

About 75 percent of black people said they have faith in the Black Lives Matter movement compared to 42 percent of white people. 

One of the biggest changes has been the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd. Pictured: Cell phone video shows former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck

 One of the biggest changes has been the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd. Pictured: Cell phone video shows former officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck

Conversely, 77 percent of white people trust the police but just 42% of black people feel the same.

However, both white and black Americans have seen their viewpoints adjust similarly compared with last year,

Back in June, 87 percent of blacks trusted BLM, showing a decline, and just 28 percent said they trusted local law enforcement, showing a decrease. 

Among white participants, 50 percent said they had faith in BLM in June, a decline of eight points since and 65 percent trusted local police, a rise by 12 points. 

‘It’s a slippery slope,’ Steve Laskowitz, 73, from Boca Raton, Florida, who is white, told USA Today in a follow-up interview.

‘Generally speaking, people should be allowed to protest. People should be allowed to demonstrate. They shouldn’t be allowed to attack others, attack buildings, trespass, shouting at somebody from the street.’ 

One of the biggest changes has been the circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd.

Floyd was killed after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, which was captured on cellphone video.

When the poll was conducted in June 2020, 60 percent believed Floyd’s death was a murder. By March 2021, the number dropped by nearly half to 26 percent.

Only two percent last summer felt the police officer did nothing that wrong. By spring 2021, that number tripled to six percent.

In addition, four percent said they didn’t have a personal view on Floyd’s death in June compared to 17 percent this year.

In June 2020, 60% believed George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was a murder, which fell by nearly half to 36% in March

In June 2020, 60% believed George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was a murder, which fell by nearly half to 36% in March

Black Americans were more likely to trust the Black Lives Matter movement and President Joe Biden while white Americans were more likely to trust local law enforcement, police unions and the military

Black Americans were more likely to trust the Black Lives Matter movement and President Joe Biden while white Americans were more likely to trust local law enforcement, police unions and the military

The poll found black respondents were more likely to classify Floyd's death (pictured)) as a murder while white respondents were more likely to blame 'officer negligence' on Chauvin's part

The poll found black respondents were more likely to classify Floyd's death (left) as a murder while white respondents were more likely to blame 'officer negligence' on Chauvin's part (right)

The poll found black respondents were more likely to classify Floyd’s death (left) as a murder while white respondents were more likely to blame ‘officer negligence’ on Chauvin’s part (right)

‘There were eight minutes that the officer could have made a different decision, and he willfully held a man,’survey participant Valda Pugh, 67, of Louisville, Kentucky who is black, told USA Today in a follow-up interview. 

‘It was a murder. It was willful – maybe not premeditated. Nonetheless, the young man died.’

Another participant, Kevin Hayworth, 66, of Garner, Iowa, who is white, disagreed with this view. 

‘I think it was a police officer doing his job,’ he told the newspaper. 

‘It was just a tragedy, but I think he was within the limits of his duty of jurisdiction.’

Black Americans were more likely to view Floyd’s death as murder, with 64 percent identifying it as such, while white Americans were more likely to describe the death as due to Chauvin’s ‘negligence’ with 33 percent doing so/

‘Unless we have acute crises bringing racial injustice to the forefront, like the killing of George Floyd, our collective default is ‘law and order,’ Cliff Young, president of Ipsos, told USA Today. 

‘Yet this is also the tale of two nations; the memory of last year’s events have not receded for black Americans. Such inequalities are always there and thus top of mind.’ 



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