ALBANY – A strong majority of New Yorkers oppose underfunding the police, despite calls by activists to gut the NYPD's vast $ 6 billion budget in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd that triggered a wave of police reforms, shows a new state survey.
60 percent of voters rejected compared to 30 percent who supported radical entrenchment, according to the results of a Siena College poll released Tuesday.
Even in New York City, more voters said they were opposed to underfinancing the police [47 percent] than 41 percent of respondents who said they supported the downsizing of the police department.
There was a huge racial divide: 67 percent of whites are against firing the police. But more than twice as many blacks supported the idea as opposed to it, with 54 percent in favor and 27 percent against.
The pollster then asked a question with a less provocative word, replacing "defund" with "reduce".
When asked if they were in favor of "reduced" funds for the police, 57 percent of voters statewide said no, and only 37 percent did.
But in New York City, 51 percent said they supported the notion of & # 39; reduced funding & # 39 ;, while 42 percent opposed it, offsetting the trend in the suburbs, which registered 71 percent percent compared to the opposite 25 percent, and those in the north of the state, who responded against the idea to 64 percent compared to 30 percent support.
The sentiment of the Big Apple's more liberal and minority residents contrasted with views in the suburbs and upstate: 71 percent of suburbanites opposed reducing public safety, as did 64 percent. of the inhabitants of the north.
Once again, the poll exposed a racial chasm: 61 percent of whites opposed reducing funding for police officers, while 61 percent of black respondents favored a cut.
The poll also follows Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement Monday that he plans to cut or transfer at least $ 1 billion from the NYPD budget.
But people, by a 2 to 1 margin of 60 to 35 percent, said George Floyd's murder in May exposes a broader pattern of excessive police violence against blacks.
Ninety-one percent of black voters agreed, followed by 64 percent of Latinos and 53 percent of whites.
Eighty-one percent said systemic racism is a very, very serious problem.
In a racial division, 51 percent of whites said they feel safer in the presence of police officers, and 46 percent of blacks responded that they feel less safe.
"While a clear majority of New Yorkers, 60 percent, say the recent killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are part of a pattern of excessive police violence against blacks, there are widespread racial differences and supporters," said Steven. Greenberg, pollster from Siena. .
"Eighty percent of Democrats say it is part of a larger pattern, while 57 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of independents, a plurality, say the deaths are tragic and isolated cases."
Respondents also said they overwhelmingly support efforts to improve surveillance in New York.
Eighty percent surveyed said it was a good idea when state lawmakers recently passed police reform bills, including those that criminalized the use of strangleholds by officers, made disciplinary records taken against public police, and created a unit. special within the state Attorney General's office to investigate and prosecute cases when a civilian is killed by a police officer.
But 60 percent also said that people of color are not treated fairly by the New York criminal justice system, compared to 29 percent who disagreed.
This question also created a sharp political divide, as 76 percent of Democrats answered "yes" compared to a minority of Republican voters, at 33 percent.
Another 60 percent compared to 36 percent said they support the Black Lives Matter protests held in countless American cities since George Floyd's death, because they are primarily peaceful protests with an important message.
That view is held by the majority of New York City residents with 72 percent and 55 percent of northern state residents.
Forty-seven percent of suburban buses also said they are on board.
When asked about New York's current race relations, a majority – 64 percent – answered "fair" or "poor," with only 31 percent responding "excellent" or "good."
Seventy-three percent of New Yorkers compared to 19 percent said minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, suffer racial or ethnic discrimination.
Ninety percent of blacks overwhelmingly agreed, followed by 70 percent of Latinos and 69 percent of whites.
The poll was conducted June 23-25, surveying 806 registered voters with a margin of error of 3.9 percent.