Political Report: Race relations, police power, the Common Core, and more

Article Highlights

  • 68% of blacks in both 1993 and 2013 said America's justice system is biased against black people @AEIPol

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  • 40% of Americans have heard "nothing at all" about the Common Core @AEIPol

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  • It's the economy, still, when it comes to issues fueling the upcoming midterm elections @AEIPol

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Is the American justice system racially biased? The September issue of AEI’s Political Report looks at the racial differences in opinion on race relations, the police response to the shooting and subsequent protests in Ferguson, Mo., and the extent of police power. Also, as a new school year starts across the country, Political Report finds that most Americans, including parents, have not heard much about the Common Core education standards.

•    A just justice system?: Sixty-eight percent of blacks in both 1993 and 2013 said that America’s justice system is biased against black people (Gallup). Sixty-eight percent of blacks believe courts treat blacks in their community less fairly than whites; 70 percent of blacks believe the police do (Pew).

•    Tension in Ferguson: Sixty-five percent of blacks think the police response to the shooting in Ferguson has “gone too far,” while 33 percent of whites think so (Pew). A sizable 35 percent of whites volunteered that they didn’t know whether the police response was appropriate or refused to answer the question (Pew).

•    Policing the police?: Forty-four percent of whites and 63 percent of nonwhites think police officers are not generally held accountable for misconduct (Reason/Rupe). Despite sharp racial differences in confidence in the police, a majority of whites and nonwhites alike believe police departments’ use of drones, military weapons, and armored vehicles is “going too far” (Reason/Rupe).

•    Grading the Common Core: Forty percent of Americans told Pew researchers they had read or heard “nothing at all” about the Common Core. Inconsistent responses on more specific questions show that people do not really know what to think about the standards.

•    Border crisis update: Americans are not united in their opinion of what to do with the unaccompanied children from Central America who have illegally crossed the southern US border. Differences in question wording significantly influence whether people favor or oppose allowing the children to stay.

•    Implications for November: Nearly 3 in 10 Americans say their vote for Congress this fall will be a vote against President Obama; only 19 percent say their vote will be a vote for him (Pew). Around half disapprove of the way their representative in Congress is handling his or her job (Pew and ABC/Washington Post).

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