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Majority say race was factor in how those who attacked Capitol were treated - CBS News poll

A majority of Americans (54%) — and particularly Democrats and Black Americans — believe race was a factor in how law enforcement treated those who attacked the Capitol last week.  

And among those who feel race was a factor, they overwhelmingly (81%) feel the protesters were treated better because most were White, rather than if they had been Black or people of color.

Partisanship is also strongly connected here. Most Republicans don't feel race was a factor, a view that differs from the majority of Democrats and independents who feel it was.

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Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans disapprove of the actions of those who breached the Capitol overall. 

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Most Black Americans perceived different treatment by law enforcement because of race. Three-quarters of Black Americans think those who forced their way into the Capitol received different treatment because most were White.

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Opinions of White Americans on this are strongly related to partisanship. 

Most White Democrats (83%) agree with Black Americans, and feel the mostly-White protesters were treated differently. A majority of White Republicans (77%) don't feel the protesters who forced their way into the Capitol were treated any differently by law enforcement because of their race.   

We see differences by age as well. Younger people are more apt than those who are older to think the largely White group of protesters who forced their way into the Capitol were treated differently by law enforcement. 

In CBS News polling this summer, we saw similar effects of partisanship on matters of law enforcement and treatment of different groups. White Democrats tended to be in agreement with Black Americans on views of treatment of African Americans by police, and White Republicans held opposing views. 


This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,521 U.S. residents interviewed between January 11-12, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 points.

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