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Majority of New Yorkers oppose defunding the police, poll shows

ALBANY — A strong majority of New Yorkers oppose defunding the police, despite calls from activists to gut the NYPD’s vast $6 billion budget in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death that triggered a wave of police reforms, a new statewide poll shows.

Sixty percent of voters rejected compared to 30 percent who supported a radical entrenchment, according to results from a Siena College poll released Tuesday.

Even in New York City, more voters said they opposed defunding the police — 47 percent — than the 41 percent of respondents who said they supported shrinking the police department.

There was a huge racial divide — 67 percent of whites are against defunding the police. But more than twice as many blacks supported the idea as opposed it– with 54 percent in favor and 27 percent against.

The pollster then asked a question using a less provocative word — replacing “defund” with “reduce.”

When asked if they favored “reduced” funding for police, 57 percent of voters statewide said no, and just 37 percent yes.

But in New York City, 51 percent said they backed the notion of ‘reduced funding,’ while 42 percent were opposed — bucking the trend in the suburbs, which recorded 71 percent compared to 25 percent opposed, and those upstate, who responded against the idea at 64 percent compared to 30 percent supportive.

The sentiment of more liberal and and minority Big Apple residents contrasted with the views in the suburbs and upstate — 71 percent of suburbanites objected to cutting public safety as did 64 percent of upstaters.

Again, the poll exposed a racial chasm — 61 percent of whites opposed reduced funding for cops while 61 percent of black respondents favored a cut.

The poll also follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Monday announcement that he plans to either cut or transfer at least $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget.

But individuals — by about a 2-to-1 margin at 60 to 35 percent — said the May killing of George Floyd exposes a broader pattern of excessive police violence against black people.

Ninety-one percent of black voters agreed, followed by 64 percent of Latinos and 53 percent of Whites.

Eighty-one percent said systemic racism is a very, or a somewhat, serious problem.

In a racial divide, 51 percent of Whites said they feel more secure in the presence of police officers, and 46 percent of blacks answered they feel less secure.

“While a clear majority of New Yorkers, 60 percent, say the recent killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are part of a pattern of excessive police violence toward black people, there are widespread racial partisan and geographic differences,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.

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