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.

More News Stories

06-30-2020 10:40am

Supreme Court strikes a blow against free speech in Soros case, Charles Koch Institute fellow says

"At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that every person should decide for themselves what they want to say, or whether they want to say anything at all."

Read more

06-18-2020 12:12pm

Conversations about race, equality, and the American experience

Organizations such as Braver Angels offer a path forward—driving a movement that seeks to create a space for dialogue to help us better understand each other and learn from each other. In a time where we’re having important conversations about race, equality, and the American experience, hearing each other’s voices is incredibly important.

Read more

06-17-2020 10:15am

Lessons from Tiananmen Square for American Protesters

While Beijing pushed for measures to prevent protests, vigils, and other speech around the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Americans across the country started raising their voices to speak out against long entrenched injustices. Charles Koch Institute Director of Free Expression Sarah Ruger spoke to this essential component of progress in a recent commentary in Real Clear World.

Read more

Sign up for updates