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Baltimore Riots: Poll Finds 96% Expect More Racially-Charged Unrest Nationwide

Seven-in-10 adults said they believe it is “very likely” that there will be more protests and clashes around the country.
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/ Source: NBC News

A whopping 96 percent of Americans say that they expect more racially-charged unrest around the country this summer, similar to the past week’s violence in Baltimore. And more than half — 54 percent — believe a similar disturbance is likely in the metropolitan area closest to where they live.

In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 68 percent of adults said they believe it is “very likely” that there will be more protests and clashes around the country like those after the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Another 28 percent said that they believe such unrest is “somewhat likely.”

The expectation of more events nationwide like those in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, was similar among respondents regardless of race.

But white respondents were slightly more likely than African-Americans to say that they expect racially-charged disturbances in the metropolitan area closest to them.

Fifty-three percent of whites said they think more confrontations in their closest city are likely this summer, while 46 percent of African-Americans said the same.

And questions about the best way to explain the tensions between police and members of the African-American community yielded very different answers from black and white respondents.

Full Coverage of the Unrest in Baltimore

Six-in-10 African-Americans said that the discord in Baltimore is attributable to “people with longstanding frustrations about police mistreatment of African Americans that have not been addressed.” Twenty-seven percent said that the riots were “caused by people who used the protests about the death of an African-American man in police custody as an excuse to engage in looting and violence.”

Among whites, those results were almost exactly flipped. Just 32 percent cited longstanding frustration about African-Americans’ treatment at the hands of police, while 58 percent said the Baltimore violence was caused by those using Gray’s death as an excuse for looting.

The poll of 508 adults, including 111 African-Americans, was conducted from April 28-30.

The full poll will be released Monday, May 4, at 6:30pm ET.