The Icosahedron #12 ft. Trevor Smith, Ph.D., and Chris Wilson on the Riots’ Impact on 2020

By: Trevor Smith, Ph.D. and Chris Wilson

It seems many Democrat cheerleaders and candidates are finally realizing the dramatic impact the riots are having on 2020.

Don Lemon (8/25/2020): “The rioting has to stop. It’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing right now that is sticking.

After George Floyd’s murder on May 25th, there was righteous anger across the political spectrum and not very many answers. The Left attributed the problem to systemic racism and many in both the middle and the Right agreed the problem must be addressed.

Witness the CNN poll (June 2–5, 2020) of adults released just two weeks after Floyd’s murder:

How big of a problem is racism in our society today? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, a small problem, or not a problem at all?

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Very few Americans believed that racism wasn’t a problem at all when this poll was completed, even Republicans.

For context, in October of 2015, 49% of the country said racism was a big problem and in November 2011, 28% of the country said it was a big problem. In fact, 67% of the country saying racism is a big problem is the highest it has ever been on this measure.

To that end, a majority of the country (84%) and a majority of Republicans (79%) believed the peaceful protests were justified:

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What Americans did not justify, however, are the violent protests that occurred in this short timeframe after Floyd’s murder. Again, this poll was taken in early June and that is important context for this entire article.

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There was also strong favorable attitudes toward the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement according to Quinnipiac (6/11–6/15) of the movement.

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Regardless, the issue of race and racism was brought to the forefront of minds across the United States, and positions on the matter generally swayed toward support and recognition of the issue.

So, what has happened since we came together as a country and recognized the problem?

Nationally, according to Civiqs, support for BLM is down four points since it reached its peak in early June. The reason for the drop can be found at looking at Independents and Republicans.

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Of course, nationally, the data do not matter, what matters is what’s happening in the states critical for the Electoral College and U.S. Senate.

The peak data represent when support for the Black Lives Matter movement was at its highest in each state and among Independents/Republicans.

What is clear is that opposition to BLM has more than doubled in its increase compared to the decrease in support. This increase in opposition is directly linked to the riots.

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A Heritage Action Battleground survey, which looked at Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, asked specifically about racial injustice versus violent protests. Sometimes, these questions can be positioned in such a way to get the desired result, but this time, the question inserts an equal amount of bias which is appropriate here:

Now thinking about the protests happening in many of our big cities, which of the following statements best represents your opinion.

These protests are a result of years of injustice and inequality suffered by Americans who are minorities as a result of systemic racism in our police departments and government in general.

…or…

These protests have stopped being about racial injustice and have become violent riots by people who hate America and want to tear down our government and radically change American culture.

In the four states a plurality of respondents (49%) chose the “violent riots” position while 42% chose the “racial injustice” position.

And, when breaking the responses down by state (n=400 per state), the results are very similar:

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The spread in Wisconsin is instructive as voters there were closest to the riots at the time of the study (and, of course, are now experiencing them).

To close, I want to acknowledge the brilliant mind of Dr. Charles Franklin of Marquette University in Wisconsin.

The shift in Wisconsin in just a few months has been remarkable. In the table below, the approval of Black Lives Matter protests is compared across two surveys he conducted. What he found is a drastic shift in approval overall (from +25 to 0), among Republicans (-24% to -62%), and Independents (+30% to +1%). Even among Democrats, the shift down in approval is notable as approval of the protests dropped nine points, while disapproval increased four points.

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So, will these riots have an impact on the election? Right now, the data are suggesting it will, as Independents have steadily moved away from supporting the movement.

I’ll leave you with a note that got a fellow political consultant from across the aisle, David Shor, fired for a simple statement of fact (how’s that for tolerance and respect for science???).

“Post-MLK-assassination race riots reduced Democratic vote share in surrounding counties by 2%, which was enough to tip the 1968 election to Nixon.” He was citing a perfectly rational study by Omar Wasow which can be found here.
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The violence we’ve seen since early summer is absolutely tipping the electoral scales toward Republican candidates. Democrats and their friends in the MSM fail to speak out on these riots (or worse, call them “peaceful protests”; see: Cillizza, Chris) at their own peril.

Researched and co-authored by Trevor Smith, PhD (@SmithWPAi) — Director of Research at WPA Intelligence
Co-authored and edited by Chris Wilson (@WilsonWPA) — CEO at WPA Intelligence

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