How the General Social Survey asks about police

AP News
|
Posted: Apr 04, 2015 3:07 AM

Since 1975, the General Social Survey has tracked attitudes toward police using the following series of questions. Here's how Americans answered them in the 2014 survey:

___

"Are there any situations you can imagine in which you would approve of a policeman striking an adult male citizen?"

Overall, 62 percent of Americans said yes and 33 percent said no. Seventy percent of whites, 42 percent of blacks and 38 percent of Hispanics said that they could imagine such a situation.

___

"Would you approve of a policeman striking a citizen who had said vulgar and obscene things to the policeman?"

Nine percent of Americans, including 9 percent of whites, 7 percent of blacks and 10 percent of Hispanics said they would approve.

___

"Would you approve of a policeman striking a citizen who was being questioned as a suspect in a murder case?"

Fourteen percent of Americans, including 12 percent of whites, 24 percent of blacks and 18 percent of Hispanics said they would approve.

___

"Would you approve of a policeman striking a citizen who was attempting to escape from custody?"

Sixty-three percent of Americans, including 69 percent of whites, 42 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics said they would approve.

___

"Would you approve of a policeman striking a citizen who was attacking the policeman with his fists?"

Eighty-five percent of Americans, including 90 percent of whites, 74 percent of blacks and 74 percent of Hispanics said they would approve.

___

The General Social Survey is administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, with financing from the National Science Foundation, primarily using in-person interviewing.

The typical sample size was 1,500 prior to 1994, but increased to 2,700-3,000 until 2008, then decreased to 2,000-2,500 for the most recent surveys. Resulting margins of error are between plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the smaller sample sizes and plus or minus 2.2 percentage points for the larger sample sizes at the 95 percent confidence level. The 2014 survey was conducted March 31-Oct. 11, 2014, among 2,538 American adults. The current results are included in the GSS 1972-2014 Cumulative File.

___

Online:

http://www.apnorc.org