New Poll Suggests Surprising Support for Criminal Justice Reforms Among Trump Voters

Arlington, Va., April 26, 2017—Ahead of President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) today released a poll surveying 1,200 American voters who participated in the 2016 presidential election about their views on criminal justice issues such as civil asset forfeiture, overcriminalization, and mandatory minimum sentencing.

The results, which represent responses from a broad range of Americans—including voters who identify as liberals, moderates, and conservatives—suggest significant support for criminal justice reform. Notably, this support even comes from Trump voters: When asked whether criminal justice reform is a priority for the country, 81 percent of Trump voters described the issue as either “very important” (34 percent) or “somewhat important” (47 percent). Trump voters were also more likely to have experience with the criminal justice system, as 54 percent of them reported knowing someone who is or has been incarcerated.

When asked about civil asset forfeiture, 59 percent of Trump voters either “strongly disagreed” (28 percent) or “disagreed” (31 percent) that police should have the right to seize private assets of a suspect even if that individual is never prosecuted.

Furthermore, when asked if judges should have more freedom to assign forms of punishments other than prison (such as civil or community service), 63 percent of Trump voters “strongly agreed” (26 percent) or “agreed” (37 percent).

“There appears to be an appetite among conservatives to get ‘right-on-crime,’” said Vikrant Reddy, a senior research fellow with CKI. “Conservatives have been observing the criminal justice system, and they have opinions on how to make it better. In short, they want reforms that prioritize public safety, respect individual rights, and advance human dignity.”

Download the full poll results

A leading web-based panel research firm fielded the survey of 1,200 registered voters who participated in the 2016 presidential election. Results are un-weighted. Respondents were sorted by whether they considered themselves liberal, moderate, or conservative on both economic and social issues; whether they lived in rural, suburban, or urban areas; and whether they personally knew someone who is or has been incarcerated.

 

The Charles Koch Institute

The Charles Koch Institute is a 501(c)3 educational organization that aims to advance an understanding of how to help people improve their lives through research, education, and discussion. CKI also works to foster a national conversation on critical issues such as criminal justice reform that have a strong impact on the advancement of societal well-being.

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