October 2, 1997 - New Yorkers Split On Approval Of Police, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; 80 Percent Say Police Brutality Is A Serious Problem
New York City voters are split 48 - 46 percent in their approval of the way police city-wide are doing their job, and by a 2 - 1 margin, they say police are tougher on blacks than on whites, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Approval of police is down from a 61 - 29 percent margin in a February 21, 1996, poll by the independent Quinnipiac College. While approval of police is down, Police Commissioner Howard Safir has a 54 - 35 percent approval rating.

Looking at police city-wide, whites approve 62 - 31 percent, while blacks have a negative 22 - 75 percent approval.

New Yorkers feel better about the cops they know: By a 65 - 31 they approve of police in their own community. Whites approve of their local cops 75 - 19 percent, while blacks are split 47 - 50 percent.

"Overwhelmingly, New Yorkers who have asked police for help say they've been treated with courtesy, and by a 62 - 27 percent margin, they expect to be treated well if they get in a minor scrape with police," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"But they split down the middle in their general assessment of how police officers are doing their job. This mixed view is from New Yorkers who are pretty happy with life in the city today. "

Looking at police citywide, 62 percent of voters say police are tougher on blacks, while 29 percent say police treat blacks and whites the same. Looking at police in their community, 48 percent say police are tougher on blacks, while 40 percent say police treat blacks and whites the same.

A total of 54 percent of New Yorkers say police lie or break the law to obtain convictions "very often" or "sometimes," while 25 percent say "not very often" and 6 percent say "never." In the February, 1996, Quinnipiac College Poll, 49 percent said "very often" or "sometimes."

A total of 80 percent of voters say police brutality is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem, while 19 percent say it is "not very serious" or "not a problem."

Thirty-nine percent see police "more as friends," while 11 percent see police "more as enemies," with 48 percent answering "neither of these." In the February, 1996, poll, 48 percent of New Yorkers saw police "more as friends."

Asked if the Abner Louima case will influence their vote for Mayor, 20 percent say "a lot," while 17 percent say "some," 12 percent say "only a little" and 49 percent say " "not at all."

"New Yorkers, who have told us in recent polls that they feel safer in the city, worry a lot about police brutality in general. They expect that police officers will be tougher on black people than on whites, and most of them think police officers will lie or break the law to win convictions," Carroll said.

"At the same time, they give Mayor Giuliani and Police Commissioner Safir good marks for how their handling crime."

From September 25 - 29, Quinnipiac College surveyed 775 New York City residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

Additional data available.

41. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Howard Safir is handling his job as Police Commissioner?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom


Approve 54% 61% 45% 43% 61% 49%

Disapprove 35 26 48 50 31 38

DK/NA 11 13 7 6 8 14



42. Do you approve or disapprove of the way New York City police are doing their job? (* Results based on random sample of all adults)

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Approve 48% 62% 22% 32% 57% 40% 61%

Disapprove 46 31 75 60 38 54 29

DK/NA 6 7 3 7 5 7 10



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

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*
 
Approve                   65%     75%     47%     48%     69%     62%     67%


Disapprove 31 19 50 50 28 33 25

DK/NA 4 5 3 2 3 5 8



44. Do you personally know any police officer in your community? (x Question read "Do you personally know any police officer who works in your community?")
                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*x


Yes 38% 38% 36% 43% 45% 32% 28%

No 62 62 64 57 54 68 72

DK/NA - - - - 1 - -



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

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


More as friends 39% 47% 25% 31% 36% 42% 48%

More as enemies 11 5 19 17 11 10 7

Neither of these 48 46 52 48 49 46 42

DK/NA 2 2 4 4 3 2 3



46. Some people say the police don't show respect for people, or they use insulting language. Has this ever happened to you?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Yes 33% 25% 43% 51% 40% 27% 29%

No 67 75 55 49 59 73 71

DK/NA - - 2 - - - -



47. Have you asked a police officer for any kind of assistance in the last year?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Yes 46% 44% 48% 49% 50% 43% 49%

No 54 56 51 51 50 56 51

DK/NA - - 1 - - - -



48. Were you treated courteously or not?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Yes/courteously 82% 92% 73% 63% 79% 85% 84%

No/not courteously 17 8 25 35 20 13 16

DK/NA 1 1 2 2 1 2 -



49. If you had some trouble with the police - a traffic violation maybe, or being accused of a minor offense - do you think that most likely you would be treated fairly by the police or unfairly?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Fairly 62% 75% 45% 45% 60% 64% 64%

Unfairly 27 15 45 45 31 24 24

DK/NA 11 10 11 10 9 12 12



50. How often do you think the police in your community break the law or lie to obtain convictions in criminal cases - very often, sometimes, not very often, or never?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996


Very often 20% 9% 37% 34% 18% 21% 14%

Sometimes 34 32 35 39 34 35 35

Not very often 25 35 13 15 31 20 25

Never 6 7 5 5 6 6 8

DK/NA 15 18 10 7 11 18 17



51. Do you think the police in New York City are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Tougher on whites 1% 1% -% -% 1% 1% 1%

Tougher on blacks 62 55 78 68 58 65 56

Treat both the same 29 35 18 23 35 25 31

DK/NA 8 8 4 9 7 9 12



52. 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 them both the same?

                                                                        Feb 21
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     1996*


Tougher on whites 1% 2% -% 1% 2% -% 1%

Tougher on blacks 48 36 71 59 44 51 40

Treat both the same 40 48 25 33 45 35 44

DK/NA 11 14 4 7 9 13 14



53. In general, how serious a problem do you think police brutality is in New York City? A very serious problem, somewhat serious, not very serious, or not a problem at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom


Very serious 47% 28% 76% 65% 40% 53%

Smwht serious 33 43 18 27 35 32

Not very serious 15 21 3 7 19 11

Not a problem 4 5 1 1 5 2

DK/NA 2 2 2 - 1 2



54. How much have you heard or read about the case of Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant allegedly sexually assaulted by police in the 70th precinct in Flatbush - A lot, some, only a little, or nothing at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom


A lot 74% 69% 86% 75% 76% 72%

Some 18 23 9 15 19 18

Only a little 6 6 4 6 4 7

Nothing at all 2 2 1 4 1 2

DK/NA - - - - - 1



55. How much will this case influence the way you will vote in the mayoral election? A lot, some, only a little, or not at all?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom     


A lot 20% 8% 42% 29% 17% 22%

Some 17 15 18 20 13 20

Only a little 12 15 9 15 12 13

Not at all 49 62 30 35 56 44

DK/NA 2 1 2 1 2 2



56.(If influenced in Q55) Does it make you more likely to vote for Ruth Messinger or more likely to vote for Rudolph Giuliani?

                           If Louima case has influenced vote
                                                                   
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     Men     Wom


Messinger 61% 49% 78% 63% 67% 57%

Giuliani 22 30 10 18 18 25

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 1 - 2 2 1 1

DK/NA 16 22 10 17 14 17