An overwhelming majority of respondents in a national poll released Wednesday said they supported criminal charges against the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.
The Nexstar Media/Emerson College poll, conducted this week, also found that 47.1% of respondents disapprove of President Donald Trump’s response to the mass protests that have followed Floyd’s death, while 35.7% approve.
If the presidential election were held today, it would be too close to call, the poll also found. But a majority of respondents said they expected Trump would remain in office.
Protests are now entering a second week after video showed former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, with Floyd crying out for several minutes saying he couldn’t breathe before he finally stopped moving.
An overwhelming 87.2% of those polled agreed that Chauvin should face criminal charges. Only 4% said he shouldn’t face charges; 9% were unsure. On Wednesday, prosecutors upgraded the charges against Chauvin from third-degree murder to unintentional second-degree murder.
The other three officers who were fired after Floyd’s death have also been charged. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Most feel Chauvin should be charged with either first-degree (42.7%) or second-degree (25.9%) murder.
A majority believe the three other former officers involved in the fatal arrest should be charged with either murder (40.2%) or accessory to murder (41.3%). Only 6% thought they should not be charged.
The protests over police brutality and Floyd’s death saw support from 45.9% of people; another 37.9% said they disapproved.
An overwhelming number of people (75.6%) disapproved of the property destruction and looting that has been seen in numerous cities.
A majority (64.1%) said they thought police treat white people in the United States better than minorities, but respondents were split on whether or not police are prejudiced. They were also evenly split on whether or not the protests would reduce instances of police brutality.
In terms of race relations in America, more than half (54%) believe they will improve in the future, while 20.4% of those polled think they will get worse.
If the election were held, 47.4% would choose Joe Biden, and 43.1% would pick Trump. That result is within the poll’s margin of error. Another 9.5% said they were undecided.
A higher percentage (56.2%) said they were leaning toward voting for Joe Biden than for Trump (43.8%).
However, when asked who will win the presidential contest in November, 53.5% said they thought Trump would remain in office with 46.5% saying Biden would be the next U.S. president.
Emerson College Polling described the poll this way:
The Nexstar Media / Emerson College poll was conducted across the United States June 2 and 3, 2020. The sample for the poll consisted of registered voters, n=1431, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.5 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by education, party affiliation, age, ethnicity, and education. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel.