As news, Ferguson Missouri is about a black teenager being shot by a white police officer, and subsequent black anger. As an issue, it’s both starker and more complicated than that. Pollster Fred Hicks surveyed registered voters in Georgia, and found a stunning lack of politics -or nuance. His results seem to show that white voters view it through a racial lens -just as black voters do. “Simply put, Black and White voters in Georgia see the police in general and Ferguson specifically in very different ways. In this survey, it’s not about income, gender or even political affiliation. It’s about race,” said pollster Fredrick Hicks. “Surprisingly, White voters across the political and income spectrums responded very similarly on the survey,” he said. (Emphasis added.)
Well, on the one hand that’s not surprising. And on the other hand, it is. Less than 20% of white voters think that police are more likely to use excessive force against a black suspect than a white suspect. And less than 20% of black voters think that police do NOT use excessive force against a minority suspect. For perspective, roughly 20% of Americans think the sun revolves around the Earth, and roughly 20% think the lottery is a “good investment.” The “one-in-five” rule is a good substitute for “everyone,” wherein that, no matter the question, if less than 20% believe it, you can be fairly certain that every sane person does believe it.
So, African-Americans believe that cops are targeting them, and whites -regardless of their political beliefs or income levels- believe that cops are not targeting African-Americans. The key here is not the racial difference, but the starkness of the absolutely reversed image that black Georgia voters have of local police forces than those of white Georgia voters. And that whites believe in the system that didn’t indict Officer Darren Wilson, while blacks do not.
If a poll in Georgia can be taken as an indicator, this country seems to be dividing more and more along racial lines, rather than political or economic ones. That can’t be good. Full cross-tabs here. Release below the fold.
(Atlanta, Ga)- The Hicks Evaluation Group, a minority owned consulting firm, surveyed registered voters in Georgia about their opinions of the police, a militarized police force, the recent grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri and the subject of race based targeting. The survey was conducted in the wake of the recent controversy in Ferguson, Missouri regarding the shooting death of African American teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a Caucasian police officer. The decision, which set off riots across the country, including in Atlanta, also renewed discussions about excessive force and local police departments possessing military grade equipment.
HEG’s survey was designed to measure the confidence of Georgia voters in their local police departments, support for a militarized police force and to assess perceptions about racial targeting. Further, the survey contained demographic questions about the respondent’s race, political views and income. The data was analyzed to determine what factor(s) determine influenced the overall survey results.
“Simply put, Black and White voters in Georgia see the police in general and Ferguson specifically in very different ways. In this survey, it’s not about income, gender or even political affiliation. It’s about race,” said pollster Fredrick Hicks. “Surprisingly, White voters across the political and income spectrums responded very similarly on the survey,” continued Hicks.
The survey was conducted statewide on November 29th and 30th using autodial/IVR technology. Registered voters were randomly selected and called. The survey results are based on 717 completed responses.
- 64% of all respondents support their local police department having military grade equipment such as assault rifles and tanks
- 81% of African Americans believe the local police are more likely to use excessive force against a minority than against a White person while only 17% of Caucasians feel similarly
- Black voters overwhelmingly disagree with the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson; White voters overwhelmingly agree, regardless of political views
- Note: 69% of African American respondents self-identified as either somewhat or very Liberal.
For more information or questions, please contact Fredrick Hicks at [email protected]