Black Lives Matter: Americans are divided on the movement

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
June 08, 2021, 3:00 PM UTC

Last summer, the Black Lives Matter movement gained attention for its role in leading demonstrations to protest police brutality toward Black Americans after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The protests, which stretched across the country, sparked calls for diverting funds away from policing and a broader conversation about racism in America. 

Data from the Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that, during the protests last June, most Americans approved (57%) of the Black Lives Matter movement. By July it had dropped to 48%, however, and remained at about that level through January 2021. Now, one year following the nationwide protests that brought it to prominence, that approval stands at 42% among Americans overall.  

Opinion on Black Lives Matter has long been divisive, with almost as many having an unfavorable view as a favorable one since July last year. Currently 45% have a negative opinion of the movement. 

Black Americans still overwhelmingly support Black Lives Matter 

Last June, three-quarters of Black Americans (74%) said they had a favorable opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement. A strong majority of Black Americans in Yahoo News/YouGov polls have continually supported the BLM movement — at its lowest, 66% had a favorable opinion of it, and at its height, 80% had a positive viewpoint. Today, 69% have a favorable view of it.  

The percentage of white Americans with a favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement has dropped 15 percentage points since last summer (51% to 36%). The most significant drop in positive sentiment among this racial group came from June 2020 (51%) to July 2020 (43%), but there has been a steady decline since last July. 

Two-thirds of Hispanic Americans (65%) had a positive view of the BLM movement in June 2020, a view that has dropped 19 percentage points today (46%). 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Yahoo News/YouGov poll

MethodologyThe Yahoo! News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,588 U.S. adults interviewed online between May 24 - 26, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 Presidential vote (or non-vote), and voter registration status. 

Image: Getty