Police marching on street

As the pandemic continues, trust in the police wanes

Americans are losing faith in the ability of their institutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. And trust in the police is taking a particular hit.

That’s according to an ongoing survey by political scientist James Druckman, who is working with a consortium of four universities that includes Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern and Rutgers to study the Americans’ opinions about the pandemic.

The survey had begun prior to the protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and is continuing. The timing of the survey has allowed the researchers to “pinpoint” the impact the events have had on Americans’ trust in law enforcement as an institution, Druckman said.

Before the protests — which began on May 26 and have continued into the month of June — 72 percent of respondents said they trusted the police to respond appropriately to the pandemic, while afterwards that number was 66 percent. During the last three days of May, as the protests spread across the United States, that percentage declined to 64 percent.

And the younger the respondent, the less likely they were to trust the police — regardless of their demographics:

African Americans:

Age 18-24: 43%
Age 25-44: 49%
Age 45-64: 61%
Age 65 and over: 62%

Asian Americans:

Age 18-24: 53%
Age 25-44: 68%
Age 45-64: 79%
Age 65 and over: 90%

Hispanics:

Age 18-24: 53%
Age 25-44: 61%
Age 45-64: 76%
Age 65 and over: 77%

White:

Age 18-24: 60%
Age 25-44: 68%
Age 45-64: 78%
Age 65 and over: 85%

Learn more about the survey and read the full report.