Americans tend to oppose Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction being overturned

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
July 08, 2021, 8:28 PM UTC

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby. The court ruled that the case would be thrown out on a technicality: previous non-prosecution agreement meant that Cosby should not have been charged at all. Cosby had served three years in prison after being convicted of indecent assault for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman he mentored.

A YouGov poll shows that four in five Americans (83%) have heard about the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Cosby’s conviction. Three in 10 Americans (30%) support the sexual assault conviction being overturned, while 46% are opposed.  

About half of Black Americans support (47%) Cosby’s conviction being overturned, while one in five (21%) are opposed. This difference is down to the fact that Black Americans are far more likely to believe that Cosby is innocent. While nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) believe Cosby is guilty of sexual assault, only 38% of Black Americans say the same.  

Three in five Black Americans (62%) say Cosby did not commit the acts he is accused of, compared to just 27% of Americans overall. 

Today, one-quarter of Americans (23%) have a positive view of Cosby. Three in five (60%) do not. The race splits appear in his favorability as well — half of Black Americans (48%) have a positive view of Cosby, while 28% have an unfavorable view. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this YouGov Daily Poll 

Methodology: 1,000 U.S. Citizens, aged 18 and over, were surveyed for this poll on July 2 - 6, 2021. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in Internet panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2016 American Community Study. The sample was weighted based on gender, age, race, education, news interest, and 2016 Presidential vote (or non-vote). The margin of error for the entire sample is 3.4% 

Image: Getty