There is a sharp difference among Oklahoma likely voters when it comes to their views on their local police and the organized group, Black Lives Matter (BLM), which has been holding protests across the United States.

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According to the most recent poll, 85.8 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of their local police department, of which 60.8 percent have a ‘very favorable view, but only 40.5 percent have a combined favorable view of Black Lives Matter, with nearly half, 49.8 percent, having a combined unfavorable opinion.

In 2015, 81 percent had a favorable opinion of their local police or sheriff’s office.

Among likely voters by party, the poll results take an even more divergent direction. While 57.3 percent of Republicans had a ‘very unfavorable’ opinion of Black Lives Matter, only 15.4 percent of Democrats did.  While 34.3 percent of Democrats had a ‘very favorable’ opinion of BLM, only 5.5 percent of Republicans did.

[QUESTION] Do you have a FAVORABLE or UNFAVORABLE opinion of the group Black Lives Matter? [RESULTS BELOW OF REPUBLICANS ONLY]

1. Very favorable 5.5%
2. Somewhat favorable 12.4
3. Neutral/no opinion 8.6
4. Somewhat unfavorable 16.2
5. Very unfavorable 57.3

[QUESTION]Do you have a FAVORABLE or UNFAVORABLE opinion of the group Black Lives Matter? [RESULTS BELOW OF DEMOCRATS ONLY]

1. Very favorable 34.3%
2. Somewhat favorable 31.2
3. Neutral/no opinion 11.3
4. Somewhat unfavorable 7.9
5. Very unfavorable 15.4

Likely voters were also asked if they thought that police departments were racist institutions. Among Republicans, 78.4 percent strongly disagreed, whereas only 35.7 percent of Democrats strongly disagreed. A plurality of Democrats, 40.9 percent, agreed with the statement that ‘police departments are racist institutions.’

Moderate likely voters, naturally, were much more down the middle with regard to views of local police and BLM. A strong majority, 85.7 percent, had a favorable view of their local police, and 58.6 percent had a favorable opinion of Black Lives Matter. Moderates, however, did not believe that police departments are racist institutions with 60.7 percent disagreeing and 30.6 percent agreeing with the statement.

White likely voters had an overwhelming favorable view of their local police at 86.2 percent. A majority of Black or African American likely voters also had a favorable view of their local police at 55.2 percent, with 40.1 points of that ‘somewhat favorable.’

Black or African American likely voters had an overwhelming favorable view of BLM at 82.3 percent, but just half of White likely voters had an unfavorable opinion at 50.1 percent. Among Whites, 40.1 percent had a favorable opinion of Black Lives Matter.

A majority of Blacks, 58.2 percent, agreed with the statement that ‘police departments are racist institutions.’

No significant differences were observed among the views of men and women with regard to their views of the local police or the group Black Lives Matter.

It should be noted that some small sample sizes among racial groups was used in this analysis, the margin of error for these subsets is extremely high, and caution should be used when drawing inferences from the data.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from August 13-31, 2020 with 379 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a tri-frame of both landline telephone and cell phones, plus SoonerPoll’s proprietary online panel. The sample was weighted by age, political party, and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a primary election. The weighting was conducted using a ‘layered technique.’

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±5.03 percent.

This poll not only conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls but exceeds the standard disclosure with a Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report. A complete description of the methodology can be found here.

The poll’s Call Disposition and Rate Calculation Report can be viewed here.  A beta version of the Weighting Table Report can be viewed here.

PHOTO by John Lucia

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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