More support for redirecting police funds to community resources than defunding police

Linley SandersData Journalist
June 12, 2020, 7:40 PM UTC

Americans oppose outright cutting funding for police departments (53%) — but about half (49%) would support gradually redirecting police funding toward funding social workers, drug counselors, and mental health experts.

A new Yahoo News/YouGov survey shows that only a quarter of Americans (25%) support reducing police funding on its face. Four in five Republicans (80%) reject the idea outright, and Democrats are split (36% oppose and 35% support). But, a less immediate proposal is more popular: gradually transitioning funding toward increasing community health resources.

About half of Americans (49%) support gradually moving police funding toward increasing the number of social workers, drug counselors, and mental health experts responsible for responding to non-violent emergencies. Two-thirds of Democrats (68%) support the idea, though most Republicans (55%) oppose it. 

In addition to receiving Democratic support, the idea is particularly popular among black Americans, Hispanic Americans, city dwellers, and younger adults. Three in five black Americans (61%) support slowly redirecting police funding toward these resources, as do most (55%) Hispanic Americans. Fewer than half (46%) of white Americans support the idea, but only one-third (34%) are opposed. 

About two-thirds (66%) of US adults under 30 years old favor the reallocation of law enforcement money, as do half (52%) of those between 30 and 44 years old. A majority of Americans who live in a city (57%) favor the redirection of funds over defunding the police (47% oppose; 32% support). 

Americans also express majority support for requiring bystander officers to step in if a fellow officer is using excessive force (83%), requiring officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against a civilian (76%), banning chokeholds and strangleholds by police (73%), and requiring officers to warn a suspect before shooting (73%). 

A separate Yahoo News/YouGov Poll conducted May 29-30 found strong bipartisan support for training police officers how to de-escalate conflicts and avoid using force, outfitting all police officers with body cameras, and implementing an early warning system to identify problematic officers. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Yahoo News/YouGov Poll 

Related: What police reform does America support? 

MethodologyThe Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,570 U.S. adult residents interviewed online between June 9-10, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US residents. The margin of error is approximately 3.4%. 

Image: Getty