Public support for the Black Lives Matter movement has dropped since June, report finds

Protests following the death of George Floyd helped shed light on the plight of Black Americans and bolstered support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But that support has declined since early June, just days after the Black father died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for more than seven minutes, a new report finds.

A majority of adults — 55% — said this month that they support the movement, but it’s a notable drop from the 67% who said the same between June 4 and 10, the report by the Pew Research Center shows. Among respondents who say they strongly support the movement, the numbers dipped to 29% between September 8 and 13 from 38% about three months prior.

The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 as a hashtag in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Black boy. Since then, it has become a global rallying cry aiming to spread the message about police brutality, though it has been criticized for its some of its demands and methods.

Since Floyd’s death, other examples of police violence against Black people have grabbed headlines, including the cases of Jacob Blake and Daniel Prude. And confrontations have escalated between protesters and law enforcement officials in US cities, most notably in Portland, Oregon. which saw over 100 days of unrest.

Racial and partisan divides

The share of Black adults who said this month that they support the Black Lives Matter movement — 87% — has ticked up 1 percentage point since June, the Pew results show.

But this pattern does not hold true among Whites and Hispanic adults. In fact, support for the movement has significantly dwindled among those two groups in the past three months.

In June, 60% of White adults said they strongly or somewhat supported the Black Lives Matter movement. This month, 45% of White adults expressed the same sentiments. Among Hispanic adults, support in those categories dropped from 77% to 66%.

The political divides among supporters of the movement has also widened, the report shows.

Among respondents identifying as White Republican and White Republican leaners, 16% supported the movement in September — a sharp decline from 37% in June. However, the change is not as significant for White Democrats and White Democratic leaners, with 88% expressing support for the movement this month compared with 92% three months ago.

Additionally, while “half of White Democrats (51%) say they strongly support the movement, just 2% of White Republicans say the same,” according to Pew.

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