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Siena Poll Reveals Racial Divide, Sometimes Conflicting Views On Systemic Racism, Local Police

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With continued calls for police reform, a new Siena College survey shows a racial divide and sometimes conflicting information.

The killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta have put a new spotlight on the racial attitudes across the nation and here in New York.

A new Sienna poll finds 81% believe systemic racism is a very or somewhat serious problem.

"The events of the last several months ... have absolutely impacted the way New Yorkers look at the world on a whole variety of issues," said Steven Greenberg, of Siena.

Greenberg points to another top issue -- defunding the police.

New Yorkers oppose it by 60% to 30%.

"It's opposed by white voters. It even has opposition from a small minority of Latino voters. Black voters are the only ones who support that issue, and they support it by a 54 to 27 percent margin," Greenberg said.


Many who spoke to CBS2's Dick Brennan were divided over defunding.

"I think they need the money they have," one man said.

"The police budgets in this country, specifically in New York, are overfunded," another man said.

Siena also asked do you feel more or less secure when you see a police officer?

Among white respondents, 51% said more secure, 13% said less, but among Black people, 13% said more secure, and 46% said less.

"I've never felt really secure about police ever," one man said.

"Here? Around here? I feel more secure," one woman said.

One thing that seems to get solid support in New York State is federal legislation to reform police organizations.

"A federal ban on chokeholds, a national database of police officer misconduct," Greenberg said.

RELATED STORY: Push For Police Reform Leaves NYPD In Difficult Position As Gun Violence Grips City

But there is also an ironic split among poll responders.

Asked if they favor their local police department, 70% said yes, 22% said no.

And when asked if they looked favorable about the Black Lives Matter movement, 66% said yes, only 26% said no.

"So two-thirds or more voters of New York like both or have a favorable view both of the Black Lives Matter movement and of their local police," Greenberg said.

Results both complicated and unpredictable.

To view the entire Siena poll, click here.

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