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Democrats and Republicans more likely to vote for candidates who pass policing and criminal justice reforms & oppose candidates who block reform efforts.

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With the General Election just 91 days away, a new poll released by Dream Corps #cut50 and the Justice Action Network shows an overwhelming majority of registered Democrats and Republicans want to see action on policing and criminal justice reforms. Across party lines and in every demographic group, voters are more likely to vote for candidates who pursue reforms and less likely to vote for candidates they see as “blocking” reform efforts. 

A majority of voters surveyed believe that our current system of policing and prisons is actually failing to keep communities safe. The poll highlights a broad set of solutions, backed overwhelmingly by voters, that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle should pursue – including consequences for officers who use excessive force or fail to intervene when it’s occurring and a change in the use of force standard.

The poll, conducted by Beacon Research, surveyed 1,504 registered voters July 23-27, 2020 by live interviewers calling a mix of landlines and cellphones. Results have a margin of error of ±3 percentage points and were weighted to match the demographics of the national electorate. 82% of respondents indicated they were extremely likely to vote this fall; another 11% said they were very likely to do so. 

The group hosted a press conference on August 3rd featuring Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Dream Corps #cut50 National Organizer Louis L. Reed, Justice Action Network Director Holly Harris, and others.

Key Findings:

  • Close to 80% of voters support their local police department but want to see national action on police reforms. 
  • Policing reforms backed by at least 80% of Democrats, two-thirds of independents, and two-thirds of Republicans, with support being strongest among women (especially college-educated white women and suburban women), voters of color, and those with college degrees:
    • establishing national use of force standards;
    • requiring officers to wear body cameras;
    • setting up a database of officer misconduct;
    • banning “no-knock” warrants;
    • implementing co-responder programs, and others. 
  • 60% of voters want candidates to lead on criminal justice reform, and would oppose candidates who block it. 

“For too long, elected leaders in both political parties have failed to rein in bad cops and overcrowded prisons. Voters are tired of the inaction – especially on Capitol Hill. This poll makes one thing clear: Members of Congress who want to keep their seats come November would be smart to get something done on policing and our criminal justice system. Lawmakers can start by strengthening and passing the JUSTICE Act in the Senate and making sure we’re not leaving criminal justice and policing issues out of the upcoming stimulus and spending packages.” Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance & Co-founder of Dream Corps #cut50.

“While the country is deeply divided on many issues, this poll is a strong reminder that we are unified in wanting to improve policing and the criminal justice system.” Brett Tolman, Former United States Attorney and founder of The Tolman Group.

“It’s been 70 days since George Floyd was killed and Congress hasn’t found the courage or the urgency to get policing reforms done. I’ve met with dozens of families like Breonna Taylor’s, who have lost loved ones to police violence – their calls for fundamental changes are universal. This continued inaction has resulted in too much pain and too many lost lives at the hands of unlawful police violence. When will it end? I hope this poll gives some of those elected leaders who may be sitting on the fence an incentive to quickly get to work fixing this broken system.” – Louis L. Reed, National Organizer, Dream Corps #cut50

“What’s clear is that Americans are dissatisfied with inaction. A vast majority of people want their elected representatives to take action to fix the broken pieces of our criminal justice system. From automating record clearing for individuals with a criminal history to ensuring additional police accountability, Americans want change. As a former police officer, a veteran, and someone on the center-right, I believe that all criminal justice reforms must prioritize human dignity, promote public safety, ensure individual liberty, and maintain fiscal responsibility.” Arthur Rizer, R Street Institute

Executive Survey Link:

https://www.thedreamcorps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/CJR-national-survey-Executive-Summary-080320.pdf

Poll Results Link: 

https://www.thedreamcorps.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/cut50-JAN-July-2020-Survey-Topline-080320.pdf