May 6, 1999 - Attitudes On Police Are As Different As Black And White, Connecticut Voters Tell Quinnipiac College Poll; Overall Approval Of Police Is Strong
Black and white Connecticut voters have sharply different attitudes on police and on how police treat them, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Overall, voters approve 74 - 17 percent of the way police in Connecticut do their job. White voters approve 77 - 13 percent, while black voters give police statewide a negative 36 - 53 percent approval.

Looking at cops in their own community, white voters approve 88 - 9 percent, while black voters approve 55 - 41 percent.

Among white voters, 60 percent see cops as friends, while 2 percent see them as enemies and 37 percent see cops as neither friends or enemies.

Among black voters, 25 percent see cops as friends, while 12 percent see them as enemies and 62 percent see them as neither.

"Our findings in Connecticut regarding the issue of police and race are very similar to our recent polls in New York City and New Jersey. There is a huge gap between blacks and whites in terms of their perceptions of the police," said Quinnipiac College Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

"While a majority of blacks approve of the job done by police in their own communities, only about a third of blacks approve of the job done by police statewide.

"Perhaps this is due, at least in part, to the recent highly publicized incidents of alleged police brutality in Connecticut," Schwartz said.

Looking at police statewide, 37 percent of white voters say police are tougher on blacks, while 48 percent say police treat everyone the same. Among black voters, 88 percent say police are tougher on blacks, while 9 percent say police treat everyone the same.

Looking at police in their own community, 18 percent of white voters say cops are tougher on blacks, while 68 percent say local cops treat everyone the same.

When blacks look at their local police, 62 percent say cops are tougher on blacks, while 29 percent say they treat everyone the same.

While 30 percent of black voters say they have been treated unfairly by police because of race, only 2 percent of white voters say they have had this experience.

Only 15 percent of white voters personally worry about being the victim of police brutality, a concern shared by 45 percent of black voters. From April 26 - May 2, Quinnipiac College surveyed 649 Connecticut residents who say they are registered voters. In addition, there was a supplemental sample of 71 black Connecticut voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. Blacks were over-sampled to yield a larger respondent base to increase the accuracy of this subset of respondents. The data were weighted by race to provide a proportionately accurate sampling of the state.

The Quinnipiac College Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the police in Connecticut are doing their job?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Approve 74% 77% 36%

Disapprove 17 13 53

DK/NA 9 10 11



6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the police in your community are doing their job?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Approve 84% 88% 55%

Disapprove 12 9 41

DK/NA 4 4 4



7. Do you think of the police more as friends, more as enemies, or don't you think of them in either of these ways?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Friends 56% 60% 25%

Enemies 3 2 12

Neither of these 39 37 62

DK/NA 2 2 1



8. Do you think the police in Connecticut are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Tougher on whites - - -

Tougher on blacks 42 37 88

Treat them the same 44 48 9

DK/NA 14 15 3



9. Do you think the police in your community are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat themboth the same?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Tougher on whites 1% 1% -

Tougher on blacks 22 18 62

Treat them the same 64 68 29

DK/NA 13 13 10



10. Do you feel that you have ever been treated unfairly by the police specifically because of your race or not?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Yes/Treated unfairly 5% 2% 30%

No/Not treated unfairly 94 97 69

DK/NA 1 1 1



11. Is being the victim of police brutality something you personally worry about or not?

                         Tot    Wht    Blk


Yes/Worry 19% 15% 45%

No/Don't worry 80 84 55

DK/NA 1 1 -