MINNEAPOLIS — After the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis led to local and national demonstrations to "defund the police," a new poll of Minneapolis voters shows strong support for a key portion of the Minneapolis city council's plan to reshape public safety in the city.
Since Floyd's death, members of the Minneapolis City Council have made a push to end the current police department as defined in the city charter, and to replace it with a new public safety department with a "holistic, public health-oriented approach."
A new KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds 73% of Minneapolis registered voters who responded agree that the city should redirect some funding from the police department to other services, including mental health, drug treatment, and violence prevention programs. Twenty-four percent of those polled said the city should not redirect MPD funding; while 3% were not sure.
The poll found majority support across genders (78% of women and 68% of men), race (76% of Black people, 72% of white people), and education (75% of college graduates, and 71% of those without a college degree).
The sharpest differences fell along party lines, with 85% of Democrats and 63% of Independents surveyed supporting the idea of redirecting police funding, while only 27% of Republicans agreed. Around 72% of Republicans surveyed said the city should not move police funding to other departments.
REDUCING THE SIZE OF MPD
While the police funding issue had clear overall support in the poll, there was far less support for the idea of reducing the size of the police force. The survey found 40% of registered voters supported a reduction for MPD, while 44% did not.
The strongest opposition to reducing the force was among older Minneapolis residents, with 59% of those 50-64 opposing the idea, as well as 57% of those 65 and older. By comparison, 61% of voters age 18-34 said they'd support the idea of reducing the size of MPD.
The poll found more white residents (41%) favored reducing the police force than Black residents (35%). Democrats (46%) also showed stronger support than Republicans (16%).
POTENTIAL IMPACT OF REDUCING POLICE FORCE
In a related question, the poll found 48% of Minneapolis residents said reducing the size of the police force would have a negative effect on public safety, while 26% said it would have a positive effect. Younger residents (40%) were more likely than older age groups to say a reduction in the force would have a positive effect (29% of those age 35-49 agreed, as well as 13% in age 50-64, and 19% of those above 65).
FEELINGS ON CRIME IN MINNEAPOLIS
The KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll also asked whether voters felt crime has increased in Minneapolis in the last few years. The survey found 51% said they felt crime has increased, while 42% felt crime levels have stayed the same, and just 5% felt crime in the city has decreased.
More Black voters (66%) felt crime had increased compared to white voters (45%). Older residents (69%) were also more likely to say crime is increasing compared to younger residents (35%).
Once again, there were sharp differences along party lines, with 81% of Republicans saying they felt crime had increased, compared to 45% of Democrats.
The KARE 11/MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll was conducted via phone by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy, surveying 800 registered voters in the city of Minneapolis from Aug. 10-12, 2020. The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.