Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown "raises important issues about race that need to be discussed." Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown's death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting. The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 14-17 among 1,000 adults, finds that the public overall is divided over whether Brown's shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
Republicans also are more likely than Democrats to view the police response to the Ferguson shooting as appropriate and to express confidence in the investigations into the incident. More Republicans think the police response has been about right (43%) than say it has gone too far (20%); 37% have no opinion. Democrats by 56% to 21% say the police response has gone too far (23% have no opinion). Nearly two-thirds of Republicans (65%) have at least a fair amount of confidence in the investigations into the shooting, compared with 38% of Democrats.