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October 25, 2016

Poll: Respect for police at highest level since 1990s

A new poll shows that respect for police officers has soared to its highest level in decades, jumping 12 percentage points from just last year.

Three in four Americans, or 76 percent, said they had "a great deal" of respect for police, while 17 percent said they had "some respect" and 7 percent said they had "hardly any," according to the poll released by Gallup Monday.

The poll has been conducted nine times since 1965, and this year, the percentage of Americans who said they had "a great deal" of respect for police is "significantly higher" than results from the '90s and lags just one point behind 1967's high of 77 percent.

The results come after a year of increased tension between police and communities. In July, 12 Dallas police officers were shot at a Black Lives Matter demonstration that was protesting the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. 

Shortly after the shootings, President Barack Obama urged "respect and restraint" from citizens upset by police shootings.

"Whenever those of us who are concerned about failures of the criminal justice system attack police, you are doing a disservice to the cause," Obama said during a July press conference in Spain.

The respect, according to the poll, was shown by both white and nonwhite interviewees. Eighty percent of white interviewees said they had "a great deal" of respect for the police, while 67 percent of nonwhite interviewees said the same – a number that's increased by 14 percentage points since last year.

Republicans, however, were more likely to show their support than Democrats, according to the poll. Eighty-six percent of right-leaning interviewees said they had "a great deal" of respect for officers, while 68 percent of left-leaning participants agreed.

Americans' confidence in officers is also seeing a slight increase since hitting a 22-year low last year, according to Gallup. Fifty-six percent of Americans said they had confidence in police in 2016, up from 52 percent the year prior.

The poll, conducted from Oct. 5-9 via telephone, interviewed more than 1,000 adults living in every state across the nation.