Support for the guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd plummeted among Republicans in the days following the trial, with disapproval of the verdict nearly doubling in a matter of days.
In a Morning Consult poll taken just after the guilty-on-all-counts verdicts were announced, 61 percent of Republicans approved of the verdict, while 29 percent disapproved — which was double the disapproval among all respondents, but still a solidly minority viewpoint.
But in a CBS News/YouGov poll taken over a longer period that ended Saturday, respondents were asked “As you may know, a jury in Minnesota found Derek Chauvin guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd. Do you think the jury reached the right verdict or the wrong verdict?”
Almost half of Republicans, 46 percent, said the jury reached the wrong verdict, while 54 percent said it was the right verdict. Among all respondents, 75 percent said the verdict was right, versus 25 percent who said it was wrong.
There are two main differences between the polls, aside from sample size (both were well in excess of reliable polling standards).
The first is the wording of the question, which in the earlier poll was actually the more detailed: “As you may know, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. Based on what you know, do you approve or disapprove of Chauvin being found guilty of all charges?”
That poll had a “no opinion” option, whereas the CBS poll did not. But even if you add in the “no opinion,” that’s still only 40 percent.
The other main difference is the polling period, which ran Tuesday through Thursday for the earlier poll, and Wednesday through Saturday for the CBS poll. That meant, among other things, that respondents had several days more of consistent messaging from conservative figures who attacked the verdict as a result of fear.
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