Confidence in the Police-A Review of Recent Polls

Gavel on American flag

As the debate on police use of force and race continues, it’s useful to review recent data on public perceptions of law enforcement in the United States and throughout the world.

Please see below for an overview of American law enforcement from Gallup. Gallup offers the best available data on American perceptions as to policing, public confidence and race. Each report provides unique insight and together, they give us the best overall picture of issues facing criminal justice in the United States.

As a Major U.S. Problem, Race Relations Sharply Rises
The percentage of Americans saying “race relations” or “racism” is the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%, the highest figure Gallup has recorded since a finding of 15% in 1992, in the midst of the Rodney King verdict.
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Americans Rate Nurses Highest on Honesty, Ethical Standards
Nurses again top Americans’ list of professions with the highest honesty and ethical standards while members of Congress and car salespeople are rated worst. Ratings of bankers and business executives declined this year.
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Urban Blacks in U.S. Have Little Confidence in Police
U.S. blacks, particularly those living in urban areas, are much less likely to express confidence in the police than are whites and Hispanics. Political attitudes also influence confidence in the police.
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Drop Among Nonwhites Drives U.S. Police Honesty Ratings Down
In the wake of racially charged incidents of police violence, Americans’ honesty and ethics ratings of police officers have dropped six percentage points from 2013. Nonwhites’ ratings have dropped sharply while whites’ are unchanged.
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U.S. Confidence in Police About Average for Wealthy Countries
Among the 34 OECD member states, a median 74% of residents say they have confidence in their local police. The U.S., where this question was last asked in December 2013, falls in the middle of the pack at 78%.
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