Race and Policing in Boston Polling Data Revealed | City of Ideas

Posted 08/19/2016 by Admin


The Boston Foundation
City of Boston Poll Topline Results


Survey of 301 residents of the City of Boston Field Dates: July 12 – 13, 2016.

Download a PDF of the topline results.      Download the crosstabs 2016 07 TBF Boston.

I'm going to read you the names of several people and groups and ask if you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable view of them. If you have never heard of the person or if you are undecided, please just say so. READ FIRST NAME. How about READ NEXT NAME?

REPEAT QUESTION TEXT ONLY IF NECESSARY, PROBE IF RESPONDENT SAYS “DON’T KNOW”. Have you heard of READ NAME and are undecided about (him/her)? Or PAUSE have you never heard of (him/her)?

Order rotated.  Favorable Unfavorable Heard of/
Never heard
Mayor Marty Walsh 56% 18% 19% 6% 2%
The Boston Police 73% 8% 16% 1% 3%

Overall, how fairly would you say the Boston Police treat black and Hispanic residents—very fairly, fairly, unfairly, or very unfairly?

Very fairly 15%
Somewhat fairly 45%
Somewhat unfairly 17%
Very unfairly 5%
Don’t Know / Refused 19%

Which statement do you agree with more? READ AND ROTATE

Tension between police and minority residents is not really a problem in Boston
Boston has the same kinds of problems as other cities when it comes to the police and minority residents
Don’t Know / Refused   13%

In the last year, have you felt as though you were treated fairly or unfairly in your dealings with any Boston Police Officers you may have encountered? If you have not encountered any police officers in the last year, please just say so.


Treated fairly 32%
Treated unfairly 7%
Have not encountered any police 59%
Don’t Know / Refused


How serious of a problem do you think racism is in the city of Boston - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious? 

Very serious 21%
Somewhat serious 40%
Not too serious 24%
Not at all serious 10%
Don’t Know / Refused 5%

Would you say race relations in Boston have gotten better or worse in the last ten years, or would you say they have stayed the same? 

Gotten better 42%
Gotten worse 13%
Stayed the same 36%
Don’t Know / Refused 10%


Would you say Boston residents of different racial and ethnic backgrounds have equal access to READ FIRST or not? How about READ NEXT

Order rotated. Yes they do Not they
do not
Don’t Know / Refused
Good quality schools 45% 47% 9%
Good housing choices 40% 47% 13%
Quality health care 60% 28% 12%
Good paying jobs 38% 50% 12%
Reliable public transportation 69% 25% 6%


How much do you think each of the following organizations could do to improve race relations in Boston? First, READ FIRST? How about READ NEXT? REPEAT QUESTION STEM AND SCALE ONLY AS NEEDED.

Order rotated. A great
A fair amount Not too much Nothing at all Don’t Know / Refused 
Non-profits dedicated
to improving the city
41% 33% 13% 3% 9%
Boston police leaders 52% 28% 10% 6% 5%>
Mayor Marty Walsh 43% 25% 10% 10% 11%
Everyday residents of the city 54% 28% 10% 2% 6%
Local media outlets 45% 32% 9% 6% 7%



Male 48%
Female 52%


18 to 29 32%
30 to 44 29%
45 to 59 21%
60+ 18%


White / Caucasian 47%
African American / Black 22%
Hispanic 17%
Asian or Pacific Islander 8%
All other 3%
Don’t Know / Refused 3%


About the Poll 

These results are based on a survey of 301 residents of The City of Boston. Interviews were conducted July 12-13, 2016 by live telephone interviews via both landline and cell phone. The results were weighted to match the demographic of  the City of Boston using  figures  from the US Census Bureau. The margin of sampling error is +/- 5.7 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. The poll was sponsored by The Boston Foundation.