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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What America Thinks: Do Protests Do More Harm Than Good?

Many Americans are protesting Donald Trump’s presidential win across the country. And many other Americans are angry about it, but that’s hardly a first after presidential elections. We decided to find out what America thinks.

As it stands, Americans have never been on board with their fellow citizens taking to the streets. Just a third of Likely Voters viewed the Occupy Wall Street protestors favorably back when the protests began in 2011. Their views changed little by early 2012.

Similarly, when protests began in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting of Michael Brown, just 25% of Americans saw the protests and accompanying mob violence as legitimate outrage at the situation. Most saw it as criminals taking advantage of an already bad situation. A year later, just slightly more saw the protests as legitimate outrage. Forty-six percent (46%) also feared the Ferguson protests would make the criminal justice situation in this country worse. They held strikingly similar views about the protests in Baltimore earlier that same year following Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody.

By the time residents protested Keith Scott’s death via police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina, earlier this year, as many as 62% felt mob violence was likely to make the criminal justice situation worse.

It’s no different to Americans with the protests against Trump’s election. Just 22% think they’ll actually lead to positive change. Most just think they will end up making the protestors look bad. But 48% do recognize that the protests may indeed reflect voter unhappiness. But in the end, Americans pretty much always think protesting in the street does more harm than good.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.