NBC Poll: Americans looking for candidates who back funding police; reject defunding them

Generic photo of ballots.
Generic photo of ballots.(MGN)
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 12:30 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 3:29 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, Wis. (WMTV) - A new NBC News poll asking what Americans want in a candidate, an overwhelming majority of potential voters said they would be more likely to vote for someone who supported funding the police and giving them the resources and training needed to protect their communities. On the flip side, candidates who back defunding police departments are most likely to lose support at the ballot box.

In fact, those two factors bookended a list of determinants pollsters listed when asking if particular factors would make them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate. Three-quarters of respondents said support for police departments would reflect well on the candidate, while only one in six voters would consider defunding efforts something that would weigh positively on their decision to back a candidate.

The second most popular factor to win voters’ support is expanding domestic oil and natural gas production, with nearly 70 percent of people saying they would be more likely to vote for that candidate. The infrastructure bill passed last year ranked third in voters’ minds. Those top three issues were the only to score a net 50 percent positive among the choices.

Every candidate scored a net negative when voters were asked how that would weigh on their decision. A good word from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was the most likely to garner support for a given candidate. A third of voters saying that would make them look more favorably on a candidate, a figure matched by former President Donald Trump. However, only four in ten voters believe Sanders’ support would make them less likely to vote for the candidate, while nearly half of voters said Trump’s endorsement would sour their opinion. That left Sanders with a net negative of six points versus a net 14 percent difference for the former president.

No one’s endorsement, however, is worse than Sen. Mitch McConnell. Only one in ten voters would look favorably on a candidate with the one-time Senate Majority Leader’s blessing, while nearly half say they would look less favorably on that endorsement. The negative 38 percent difference was tied for second-worst position with how support for overturning Roe v. Wade would factor into their decision.

Only one in five voters said a candidate who wants to overturn the controversial decision that ruled women have the right to an abortion would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Nearly three times that number (58%) said such support would cause them to likely reject someone running for office. Unsurprisingly, the flipside of that question, asking how a candidate who supported Roe would affect voters’ verdicts, flipped the results almost exactly, with 56 percent saying they would be more likely to vote for that person versus a quarter who said the opposite.

Rounding out the other questions, the poll also found half of voters would like to see a candidate who would want to do more to help Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion. One in five say a candidate who believes that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, despite the many recounts and dismissed lawsuits demonstrating the contrary, would make them more likely to back that individual. More than half, though, said they would count that against the candidate.

Issue (ranked by net difference)Total More LikelyTotal Less LikelyNet Difference
A candidate who supports funding the police and providing them the resources and training they need to protect our communities.75%11%+64%
A candidate who supports expanding domestic oil and natural gas production to keep our gasoline and energy prices lower.69%17%+52%
A candidate who supports the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that passed Congress last year that funds road and bridge construction and repairs.63%13%+50%
A candidate who supports President Biden’s proposal to lower costs for health care and prescription drugs.62%16%+46%
A candidate who supports the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision which says a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion.56%25%31%
A candidate who says America needs to do more to support Ukraine, including increasing the number of weapons we send to support their fight against Russia.50%19%31%
A candidate endorsed by Bernie Sanders.33%39%-6%
A candidate endorsed by Joe Biden.30%42%-12%
A candidate endorsed by Donald Trump.33%47%-14%
A candidate endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.22%34%-27%
A candidate endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene.7%34%-27%
A candidate who says Donald Trump won the election for president in 2020.20%54%-34%
A candidate who wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that would mean that a woman does NOT have a constitutional right to an abortion.20%58%-38%
A candidate endorsed by Mitch McConnell.10%48%-38%
A candidate who supports defunding the police.17%73%-56%

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