huffpollster reviewing the polls on ferguson the police and racial tensions

Polls at the national level shed light on the bigger questions that the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri brought up. Less and less Americans say that the economy is the most important problem. And data journalism will soon be after your tarot cards. Today is Thursday, August 21, 2014, and this is HuffPollster.

AMERICANS ARE AGAINST ARMING THE POLICE – Emily Swanson: “A new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that most Americans don’t think it’s necessary for the police to use military weapons to do their jobs. A new poll shows that 28% of Americans think it’s necessary for police to use military weapons and armoured vehicles, while 51% think it’s going too far to use such things. Police militarization has been criticised recently, in part because of how police in Ferguson, Missouri, treated protesters after white officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. In crowds of protesters, police have used tear gas and armoured vehicles, and some of them have carried assault rifles.
Also from HuffPost/YouGov: Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to say they don’t trust their local police departments, but both groups have a generally positive view of police in their communities. [HuffPost]

Ferguson is a mixed bag for Obama. – HuffPollster: “A new poll finds that Americans have mixed feelings about how President Barack Obama handled the situation after a police officer shot and killed a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. However, they are mostly positive. A CBS/New York Times poll that came out Thursday found that 41% of Americans are happy with how Obama is doing as president, while 34% are not happy and 25% are not sure. CBS says that 46 percent of Americans were not happy with how President George H.W. Bush handled the riots in Los Angeles in 1992. Sixty percent of black Americans were happy with what Obama did in Ferguson, but only 35 percent of white Americans felt the same way.” [CBS, via HuffPost]

Missouri has a racial climate that is near the bottom of the list – Frank Newport: “Gallup’s big 50-state poll from 2013 asked people in each state if the city or area where they lived was a good place for people of different races or ethnicities to live.

On this measure of racial climate, Missourians came in 49th place out of 50 states. Overall, 76% of Missouri residents said that their area was a good place for racial and ethnic minorities, while 22% said it wasn’t. As was said, West Virginia was the only state that did worse on this measure. All of this is relative, that much is clear. Even though West Virginia and Missouri were at the bottom of the list, about three-quarters of the people who lived there felt good about how things were for minorities there. Still, Missourians were the second-last ones on the list…. So, we know that Ferguson is in a state where most people say no when asked if their cities and towns are good places for people of colour to live.

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