Rantz: Shock poll shows only 32% support to defund SPD by half

Aug 2, 2020, 9:15 AM | Updated: Aug 3, 2020, 5:56 am

A new poll spells absolute disaster for the Seattle City Council pushing to defund the Seattle police by 50%. Only 32% back the reckless council plan. The vast majority of Seattle voters support only a modest cut, and favor the Police Chief’s decision for what happens.

The poll by EMC Research, a firm normally favored by left-leaning clients, was conducted between July 22-27 as the debate to decimate the Seattle Police Department heated up.

No matter the spin, there’s little good news in this poll for anti-police politicians and fringe community activists. Still, the council readies a plan to cut SPD funding. But they do so risking their seats on the council.

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Little support to defund Seattle police by 50%

While some media outlets picked up on the poll for showing 53% general support for defunding the policy, the details reveal it’s not what activists or the council had hoped for.

Only 32% support the council’s approach to cut the funding to the Seattle police by 50% despite loud, dangerous riots and protests pushing the idea. That’s only 11% higher than voters, at 21%, saying they don’t want any cuts to the SPD at all.

A full 43% of voters support the mayor’s approach, which has been best defined as a 5% cut, though the mayor’s office revised the plan for between 10% and 20% defunding. This approach just moves peas around a plate: It just shifts money around without actually providing substantial cuts to services or personnel from the SPD.

This isn’t an anomaly poll.

KING 5/Survey USA found “53% of adults surveyed said they opposed or strongly opposed proposals to defund police departments, and a little more than one-third said they supported or strongly supported the proposals.”

An Elway/Crosscut poll released over the weekend, surveying voters statewide, shows an astonishing 73% oppose the defunding of police. When it’s broken down by party identity, 96% Republicans oppose and 51% Democrats oppose.

The council isn’t trusted

What’s especially telling in this new poll is that the Seattle City Council isn’t trusted to handle any defund plan they end up adopting.

With a whopping 61% support, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is seen as most trustworthy to “making fundamental changes to SPD while protecting public safety.” Best has been an outspoken critic of the defund plan, calling it the “height of recklessness.”

“I think the word plan is rather loose here. They haven’t got a plan. All they have shown us that they want to reduce the budget by 50%. I haven’t seen any real planning in that. And the real tragedy of doing that is that we will lose 1,100 employees. That’s 50% of our total workforce because most of our budget is made up of our personnel costs and it would be a tragedy,” Chief Best told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Second most trusted to fundamentally addressing policing issues is Mayor Jenny Durkan. She, too, has called out the council’s plan.

The Seattle City Council comes in a distant fourth in trustworthiness of tackling police reform (47%).

When it comes to trusting the council on policing, it seems increasingly like the council’s recent behavior is alienating constituents.

West Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold recently promoted the idea of exclusively firing white cops, on the basis of their race, to address concerns with her 50% defunding scheme. And during a protest, Councilmember (and mayor hopeful) Teresa Mosqueda said a protester was justified in his threat to murder Seattle officers.

Seattle is heading in the wrong direction

Given the rash of recent riots and violent clashes between fringe protesters and Seattle police, it’s not shocking that the city is seen as heading in the wrong direction. And the numbers are shocking.

In May, 59% of those polled said Seattle was headed in the right direction. In July? Only 34%. A whopping 53% of those polled say the city is headed down the wrong track, an alarming uptick from 32% in May.

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Council ignores the voters

As of now, the council is publicly ignoring the will of the people. They are pushing ahead with their plans to defund Seattle police. A leaked draft of a resolution — from an unknown councilmember — shows how fringe the plan could go, with an end goal of abolishing the department.

A media campaign by the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) has generated voter support. It earned over 100,000 signatures against defunding the police in just four days. The ads, which can be heard on KTTH radio, target Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant. She just released a “plan” to cut the police department by 50%, leaving the details to the chief. This, of course, isn’t much of a plan at all.

Meanwhile, pressure mounts on freshman Councilmembers Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss. Then-candidates, Lewis and Strauss supported more police, a position that helped earn them seats on the council. Since then, however, they’ve flipped. Both councilmembers have been unresponsive to constituent emails expressing concern.

One Queen Anne constituent of Lewis, for example, was desperate for a response from Lewis. The councilmember was holding a Town Hall on public safety, but didn’t include any guests from the Seattle Police Department. The constituent asked why the police perspective was missing from the mid-afternoon Town Hall.

“When one of your constituents poses a reasonable question to you, it is your duty as an elected official to offer a timely, reasonable answer,” he wrote.

Two emails in total, he only received a form letter ignoring his question. Can Lewis and his colleagues ignore the Seattle constituents on defunding?

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Shock poll shows only 32% support to defund SPD by half