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New Survey Shows What Sheriffs Across the U.S. Think of Trump, Biden

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Most sheriffs across the United States are elected individuals responsible for providing security, investigating complaints, among other things. During the BLM riots in 2020, Politico reported that law enforcement groups were breaking with Biden, saying “he kept moving left and fell off the deep end.” One official said that Biden is “writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement.”

A survey published Tuesday by The Marshall Project asked 398 sheriffs from across the country about different political issues, including immigration and their thoughts on President Joe Biden.

In the survey, the majority of sheriffs “proved hawkish” on immigration policies, the write-up noted. In the results, nearly 70 percent of respondents said they “strongly agree” that federal spending to tighten border security and prevent illegal immigration should be increased. An additional 20 percent of respondents said they “agree” this type of funding should be increased. 

Thirty-five percent of sheriffs who responded to the survey said they are required to check a person’s immigration status when they are arrested for a violent crime. 

On an “ideological scale,” 53.5 percent said they are “conservative,” while 17.3 percent said they are “very conservative.” Just over 1 percent said they are “liberal” or “very liberal,” while 28.1 percent said they are “moderate or middle of the road.”

Just over 25 percent of sheriffs in the survey said they “strongly approve” of President Donald Trump’s job performance when he was in office. An additional 47.5 percent said they “approve” of his performance. 

As for Biden, 69.3 percent of sheriffs said they “strongly disapprove” of his job performance. About 18 percent said they “disapprove” of his job performance. Less than 5 percent said they “approve” or  “strongly approve” of his job performance.

Respondents were asked if the demonstrations held in recent years to protest the deaths of African Americans during encounters with the cops have been motivated by a longstanding bias against the police. Forty-three percent said this has a “great deal” to do with it, and 41 percent said it has “some” to do with it. Eighty percent said these deaths are “isolated incidents” and not signs of a broader problem. Seventy-eight percent agreed that ““our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with whites.”

The Marshall Project pointed out that it gave respondents the opportunity to respond without revealing their name publicly but also gave them the option to speak in follow-up interviews. Seventeen sheriff's spoke in follow-up interviews. 

James Hammond, who retired as a sheriff in Tennessee this year, said that “sheriffs have to feel the heartbeat of the citizens that voted them in there” and that most of them have grown up around the people who elect them. More than half in the survey went to high school in the towns where they serve. 

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