Poll: Voters More Worried by Violence Against Police Than Police Brutality

Black Lives Matter protesters march Saturday in the District of Columbia. (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

In the days since the mass shooting in Dallas, Texas – the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11 – more voters said violence against the police is a more serious concern than police violence against the American public.

But, in the weekend that followed two high-profile, controversial police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, a new Morning Consult survey shows African Americans express serious concerns about police officers harming them, a view shared by far fewer white voters.

More than half of voters, 56 percent, said they had very serious concerns about violence against police, concerns that were expressed by 57 percent of white voters, 53 percent of Hispanic voters and 52 percent of African American voters.

But only 45 percent of voters said they view police violence against the public as a very serious fear, a view shared by 78 percent of African American voters but just 39 percent of white voters.

Are you most worried that you or someone you know will be a victim of…

 Terror AttackGun ViolencePolice BrutalityNo Opinion
All Respondents31%33%17%19%
White35%34%12%19%
Black7%24%49%19%
Hispanic24%39%25%12%

When asked about which they were worried about the most – being a victim of a terrorist attack, gun violence or police brutality – only 17 percent of voters said they were worried about becoming a victim of police brutality, although nearly half of African Americans (49 percent) said they are worried either they or someone they know becoming a victim of police brutality.

A third of voters, 33 percent, said they were more concerned about being a victim of gun violence and 31 percent said they were worried about being a victim of a terror attack – both issues that have permeated the conversation on the presidential campaign trail.

There, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a slight lead over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, 40 percent to 38 percent, when voters were asked which person they trust to keep American safe.

(Related: Clinton leads Trump by just 1 point in new tracking poll.)

More than half of voters (55 percent) expressed support for stricter gun-control laws, but they also voiced skepticism on whether Congress would be able to pass the measures. More than a third (35 percent) of voters said there was a poor chance of such legislation passing, compared with just 8 percent who said there was an excellent chance. About one in 5 (21 percent) of voters said there was a good chance, and more than a quarter (26 percent) said there was a fair chance for passage of gun-control legislation.

Most voters – 85 percent – had heard some or a lot about the Dallas shooting, more than had heard about the Brussels, Belgium, terrorist attack but fewer than the 93 percent who had heard about the shooting last month in Orlando, Fla.

Only 26 percent of voters said security is their top concern when thinking about who to cast their vote for in House and Senate races, down slightly from last month after the Orlando shooting, when the subject was nearly tied with economic issues.

The national Morning Consult survey polled 2,001 voters from July 8-10 for a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. See the toplines and crosstabs.