Do Americans trust the police? It could depend on your political beliefs, poll finds

Brooke Wolford
·1 min read

Months after demonstrators protested the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in police custody, a new Gallup poll revealed Americans’ confidence in law enforcement is at a 27-year low.

Gallup began tracking the public’s confidence in key U.S. institutions in 1993. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the public’s trust in the medical system, public school system, banks, small business and the church/organized religion increased, the poll found.

But for the first time in the poll’s history, the majority of American adults do not trust the police. Confidence in law enforcement fell 5 points to 48%, according to Gallup.

Gallup surveyed 1,226 adults from all 50 states and D.C. by phone between June 8 and July 24. Of those polled, 23% had a “great deal” of trust in the police, 25% said “quite a lot,” 33% said “some,” 17% said “very little,” and the remaining 2% said “none” or “no opinion,” according to Gallup.

Gallup’s poll evaluating the public’s trust in key U.S. institutions showed American’s confidence in police is at a record low. While trust in law enforcement fell among Democrats, it rose among Republicans.
Gallup’s poll evaluating the public’s trust in key U.S. institutions showed American’s confidence in police is at a record low. While trust in law enforcement fell among Democrats, it rose among Republicans.

But while confidence in the police overall declined, the public’s answers varied depending on their political affiliation, the poll found. Republicans’ confidence in the police rose 7 points to 82%, while Democrats’ trust in police fell 6 points to 28%.

Fewer than 1-in-5 Americans expressed confidence in Congress, television news and big business, with Congress coming in last for the 14th consecutive year.

The poll’s margin of error is about 4%, according to Gallup.