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AFP/YouGov Poll Shows Americans View Tech as Positive Force in Recent Social Justice Movements

Jul 7, 2020 by AFP

Arlington, VA – A new poll released today by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and YouGov shows that Americans hold largely positive perceptions of the role that technology played in facilitating recent social justice efforts, including the Black Lives Matter movement. The poll found that a majority of Americans also believe technology can play a crucial role in improving police accountability and public safety. You can view full results here.

Topline results:
Twenty-seven percent of people thought that the protests wouldn’t even be happening without social media.

Nineteen percent said protests would be happening to the same extent, and 39% said they would be happening but to a smaller extent.

Over two thirds of respondents (67%) thought the ability to record and then share pictures and video quickly on social media increases police accountability.

When asked about police using tech, such as dash cams or a body-worn camera, people do believe it increases safety for those in their community. Sixty-eight percent of people greatly or somewhat held that belief.

The percentage of people who think each of the following are somewhat or a very good thing for the world are:

  • Cell phone cameras – 79%.
  • Connecting many people with pictures and videos quickly through social media – 65%.
  • Using those technologies to record and then share pictures and video of police performing their jobs in public – 63%.

A majority of people think that technology has helped the Black Lives Matter movement – 56%.

Americans for Prosperity Senior Policy Analyst Billy Easley issued the following statement:

“Technology enables people to share information and mobilize in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. The positive takeaway here is not only that technology facilitates positive action around important issues, but people recognize just how significant of a role it plays in the recent movements we’ve seen. It’s clear people also see that technology can be an important tool in facilitating accountability and public safety.

“What I’m seeing in these results is very encouraging. It’s easy to take emerging technology for granted when it has become such a normal part of our lives. But without a cultural embrace of this kind of innovation, the U.S. risks falling behind nations that are willing to experiment with new technology. That’s something federal agencies and lawmakers need to consider when considering regulations on the tech sector.”

Additional findings on public sentiment about protests:
People are very positive and supportive of the peaceful protests in Minneapolis – 63% are very or somewhat positive.

People are also very positive on the peaceful protests outside of Minneapolis – 61% are very or somewhat positive.

People are overwhelmingly negative on violence specifically against police officers during these protests – 70% were somewhat or very negative.

People were even more negative on property destruction of local stores as a form of protest – 80% of people were somewhat or very negative.

Methodology: The survey, conducted by YouGov with their web-based panel participants, was fielded June 16 to 21, 2020. The data is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population. The numbers from this release may not match up perfectly to the crosstabs, or add up to 100 percent, due to rounding.

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