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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Stockton Poll: Racism’s a Problem, Beliefs on Seriousness Vary

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By Press Release

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Majorities of New Jersey adults see racism as a major problem and believe police treat people of color more harshly than white people, but opinions vary widely across political, racial, and socioeconomic lines, according to a Stockton University poll.
According to a release, the poll of 721 adult New Jersey residents found that 65% see racism and racial inequality as a major problem and 24% said it is a minor problem. Seven percent do not think racism is a problem at all.
Regarding policing, 61% said they believe police generally treat people of color more harshly than they do white people, whereas 28% think they treat them the same, and 4% said police treat people of color less harshly than they treat white people.
A slim majority of 52% said police violence is a major problem, while 33% identified it as a minor problem and 13% said police violence is not a problem.
Young people, especially, expressed concern about racism, with 81% calling it a major problem. Among those aged 50 and older, 61% said it is a major problem. 
However, the results showed strong divisions of opinion based on partisanship, racial background and household income levels. Democrats, Blacks, and lower-income respondents overwhelming saw racism as a major problem.
Similar differences were found when respondents rated how much of an issue they consider police violence to be. Among Democrats, 83% called it a major problem, while only 14% of Republicans think the same. Just more than half of Republicans consider police violence to be a minor problem and 17% said it is not a problem.
Eighty-six percent of Black respondents said police violence is major problem, while 44% of white respondents agreed. Three-quarters (74%) in households with less than $50,000 in income called police violence a major problem, while 45% in households making more than 100,000 think the same.
“Overall, majorities of New Jersey residents recognize racism as a serious problem,” stated John Froonjian, executive director of the Hughes Center, “but as issues of policing and racism were debated in the presidential election, some partisan views hardened.”
This is especially evident on the question of how police treat people of color. While the majority of Democrats (86%) said police treat people of color more harshly than they treat white people, the majority of Republicans (56%) said people of color get the same treatment.  A majority of whites (55%) also thought people of color are treated more harshly by police, but 96% of Black respondents said so.
The Stockton Poll of New Jersey adults screened as likely voters was conducted Oct. 7-13. The poll, conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy of Stockton University, has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points for the entire sample although it is larger for subgroups.
Over the summer and into the fall, police violence spurred Black Lives Matter protests that sometimes turned to vandalism and looting. President Donald Trump adopted a law-and-order theme and campaigned against the protest movement. The Stockton Poll did not cite specific incidents involving police and racial minorities, such as the killing of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, in May, and it framed the questions generally.
Full poll results are at www.stockton.edu/hughes-center/polling.

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