It appears that a change may be occurring in the Republican party as protests continue following the death of George Floyd.
A new poll has just found that less than half of Republicans look at the slogan “Black Lives Matter” negatively.
Some surprising numbers
“Black Lives Matter” is a slogan that has been thrown around a lot recently. The words themselves convey the general message that supporters look to get across, but the label has also been used over the past couple of weeks by those who support violent protests, the defunding of police departments, and the notion that systemic racism pervades not only all areas of our government – from law enforcement to voting – but our lives.
Accordingly, it is hard to understand how anyone, let alone Republicans – the party of law and order – can see “Black Lives Matter” non-negatively. But, the recent poll has found just that.
Conducted by The Economist and YouGov from last Sunday through Tuesday, the poll has found that 25 percent of Republicans view the slogan “Black Lives Matter” positively and 29 percent view it with neutrality. That means that less than half of Republicans view the slogan negatively. Changing the term from Republicans to Conservatives, 25 percent said that they view the slogan positively.
As would be expected, of the 1,241 registered voters surveyed, 77 percent of Democrats view the slogan positively; and, 83 percent of liberals. Then, putting one’s political persuasion off to the side, the poll found that 54 percent of voters view the slogan positively, 25 percent negatively, and 18 percent with neutrality.
What to make of it
Admittedly, this poll may just be a bad poll. After all, the pollsters asked one’s view of the slogan, and the slogan is just three words – three separate combinations of letters that are meaningless until they symbolize something. There is the temptation to forget this, to just jump from the words “Black Lives Matter” to what those words have recently come to symbolize, such as a group of people who support destroying cities and defunding the police.
Maybe the poll’s participants – or at least some of them – were able to separate the two. Maybe those who say that they see the slogan positively just thought to themselves, “yeah, black lives matter, just as all lives matter.” Or, perhaps, those who are neutral really mean that the words have no meaning for them. If that is the case, then the poll is pointless.
But, let’s say that participants weren’t able to separate the two and that, therefore, there are a sizeable number of Republicans out there who really do view “Black Lives Matter” and what the group has come to represent positively. What does this mean for the Republican party going forward?
Harbinger of things to come?
What it means is that, if Republicans are going to have a successful November, then they are going to, at minimum, have to jump on the bandwagon of police reform. And, that is exactly what we are seeing.
Does this mean the Republican party is altering its law and order stance here as a result of the fallout from George Floyd’s death? That is something we’ll have to watch out for as the situation progresses, but don’t expect Republicans to support defunding or abolishing the police.