Support for protests after Jacob Blake shooting sharply divided by race, partisanship

New Ipsos poll, provided exclusively to NPR, finds more Americans support Biden’s response to the shooting than Trump’s

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
Get in touch

Washington, DC, September 3, 2020 –A plurality of Americans support the protests taking place following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, according to a new Ipsos poll, provided exclusively to NPR. Though more support than oppose the protests, the public is significantly divided by race and partisanship. Furthermore, nearly one in five do not have an opinion. Public opinion toward the response to Blake’s shooting by President Donald Trump, Joe Biden, the NBA, and others, is also highly polarized.

Detailed Findings   

Support for the protests occurring in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting illustrate deep divisions within the American public – particularly on race and partisanship.

  • Overall, 43% support the protests and 38% oppose. Nearly one in five (18%) are unsure.
  • Two-thirds of Black Americans support the protests and demonstrations taking place – including 58% who strongly support them – compared to just over a third of white Americans (36%).
  • The partisan gulf is even wider: 75% of Democrats support the protests, versus six percent of Republicans. This is significantly lower than the number of Republicans supporting the protests after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis earlier in the year.

Various public figures’ and groups’ responses to Blake’s shooting are also polarized. However, Biden’s response is viewed more positively overall than Trump’s.

  • Forty percent of Americans support Biden’s response to the shooting in Kenosha, 27% oppose. More than three-quarters of Black Americans (77%) support Biden’s response; just one in three white Americans (32%) agree.
  • Roughly a quarter (27%) support Trump’s response. His support among Black Americans is barely in the double digits (11%).
  • Both men elicit strong support from their respective party bases, but support is in the single digits from members of the opposing party.
  • Support for NBA players’ and the Black Lives Matter movement’s response is driven primarily by Democrats and Black Americans, while a majority of Republicans oppose the response from both groups.
  • Still, at least 20 percent of Americans – more in some cases – have no opinion on these individuals’ or groups’ responses to Blake’s shooting. The number of Black Americans stating they are unsure is much lower, demonstrating that their views toward Blake’s shooting and the surrounding events are more fully formed than their white and Hispanic counterparts.

Americans believe COVID-19 to be the most worrying topic facing the country right now. However, Black Americans are equally concerned about COVID-19 and racial injustice.

  • Nearly half (45%) say COVID-19/coronavirus is their biggest concern. Healthcare, racial injustice, and political extremism/polarization are in a distant second tier (24-26% each).
  • Concerns about COVID-19 and racial injustice are equal – and higher than the general population – among Black Americans. Fifty-nine percent cite each issue as the most worrying.
  • By contrast, fewer than one in five white Americans (17%) cite racial injustice as an issue. More are concerned about political extremism (29%) and crime/gun violence (21%), among others.

About the Study   

This Ipsos Poll, provided exclusively to NPR, was conducted August 28-31, 2020 using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll was based on a nationally representative probability sample of adults age 18 or older (n=1,008). The poll also includes 715 white Americans, 97 Black Americans, 267 Republicans, and 336 Democrats.

The KnowledgePanel is the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The survey was conducted in English. The data was weighted to adjust for gender by age, race, education, Census region by metropolitan status, and household income. The above design weights for KP respondents were then raked to the following geodemographic distributions of the 18 and over adult population. The needed benchmarks were obtained from the 2019 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

  • Gender (Male and Female) by Age (18-29, 30-44, 45-59, 60+)
  • Race-Ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) by Metropolitan Status (Metro and Non-Metro)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or Higher)
  • Household Income (Under $25K, $25K-$49,999, $50K-$74,999, $75K-$99,999, $100K-$149,999, $150K and Over)

The margin of sampling error among the total sample of adults age 18 or older is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.The margin of sampling error among the subgoups are:

  • White Americans = plus or minus 3.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level
  • Black Americans= plus or minus 10.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level
  • Republicans = plus or minus 6.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level
  • Democrats = plus or minus 5.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level

For more information on this news release, please contact:     

Mallory Newall 
Director, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2014   
[email protected]     

Kate Silverstein 
Media Relations Specialist, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected] 

About Ipsos   

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.   

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.   

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).    ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP          


The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs