Harvard poll shows voters receptive to law and order messaging

A new poll from Harvard University suggests the American electorate is receptive to President Trump’s messaging about law and order.

More than two-thirds of the 1,314 registered voters surveyed by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies/Harris Poll have a favorable opinion of law enforcement, compared with 51% for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The two have found themselves increasingly at odds this year after the death of George Floyd, a Black man being detained by a White Minneapolis police officer. Caught on video, Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests and occasional violence, spurring harsh rhetoric from the White House.

Antifa — a loosely-knit movement opposing right-wing ideologies that has been a frequent talking point for the president — has just 14% approval.


Approximately three-quarters of survey respondents want to see the southern border of the U.S. tightened and illegal immigrants who commit crimes deported.

While each of those positions, on which participants were questioned from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, more closely aligns with the president rather than 2020 Democratic opponent Joe Biden, voters give a higher overall approval rating to the former vice president.

According to reporting from The Washington Times, Biden leads the president by 6 percentage points, with 44% saying they find him personally likable and 38% disliking him.

President Trump has a 22-percentage-point deficit, with just 33% saying they like him personally.

As many national polls show, Biden has maintained a slight lead over the president through this point in the campaign.

The Harvard poll revealed a 47% to 45% edge for Biden, and when undecided voters were pressed, his lead expanded to 52% versus 48%.

The Real Clear Politics Average, which included these results in its calculation, currently shows Biden up by over seven percentage points.

Harvard cautioned, however, that 21% of voters conceded they might still change their minds come November.

President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during the first presidential debate on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)
(Associated Press)

While the president’s job approval is rising, Biden still leads on coronavirus — rated the most important issue. That figure may change after Trump’s disclosure early Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Harvard poll showed Trump’s approval on handling the COVID-19 pandemic began to tick up from 43% in August to 47% at the end of last month.

Nevertheless, voters polled said they expected a second wave of COVID-19 cases, and 60% said they would support another lockdown if the virus spikes again.

Two-thirds worry about reopening American businesses too soon, though most still want their states to try to remain unrestricted.

More than three-quarters of respondents want to see a national mask mandate, as the Democratic candidate had previously suggested.

Voters also voiced their support for another pandemic stimulus bill, though talks on Capitol Hill have run hot and cold over the past couple of weeks.

In economic issues, an area once expected to be key to Trump’s re-election bid, just 18% of voters think taxes should be raised.


Lastly, the poll found 47% approve of Trump’s handling of race and policing issues, and 48% approve of his response to civil disorder.

Four in five voters said violent or destructive protesters should face arrest and prosecution; only 20% said they should be “released without much penalty.”

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