PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- One-third of black residents in the United States have confidence in the police -- a number that drops to one in four in urban areas -- a Gallup poll said Monday.
Gallup's findings were based on an aggregation of polls conducted between 2006 and 2014 on public confidence in major institutions.
The data was released as large demonstrations continued acrross the country over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the failure of grand juries to bring charges against the police officers involved. Brown, a recent high school graduate, was shot in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., while Garner, 41, was placed in a chokehold by an officer trying to arrest him for selling illegal cigarettes in New York's Staten Island borough.
During the eight-year period, an average of 57 percent of respondents said they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in police. This included 61 percent of whites, 57 percent of Hispanics and 34 percent of African-Americans.
Generally, people living in rural areas were more trusting of police than those who live in major urban areas. But Gallup found the split was significant only for black respondents with 38 percent of rural dwellers trusting police compared to only 26 percent in cities.
"Because many of the high-profile racial incidents involving police have occurred in urban settings, blacks living in and around big cities may be more sensitive to these tensions with police than blacks living in non-urban areas," Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones said. "It is possible that these high-profile events were not isolated incidents but more extreme examples of ongoing and widespread tensions between police and blacks, which many urban blacks may experience firsthand."
Gallup also found a partisan split. While 69 percent of Republicans said they trusted police, only 52 percent of Democrats and independents agreed.
Here again, there was a bigger divide among nonwhites. About two-thirds, 67 percent, of nonwhite Republicans said they have confidence in the police, which dropped to 44 percent for independents and 41 percent for Democrats.
The findings were based on interviews with 9,442 adults, including 7,761 white and 703 black. The margin of error was 1 percent for the total sample and for white respondents and 4 points for black respondents.