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Poll Watch

Poll: Voters find George Floyd killing more troubling than violent protests, 80 percent say U.S. 'out of control'

There's a partisan split on COVID-19, police violence against black Americans, and President Trump's handling of both issues in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday, but a remarkable 80 percent of voters agreed the U.S. is "out of control."

"Out of control — that's America in 2020," said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the poll with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. It's "one of the few things Americans can agree upon and the one finding that we can definitively state given the tumult and torment of the past 12 days."

By a 2-to-1 margin, voters also said they found the police killing of George Floyd, a black man asphyxiated under a white officer's knee in Minneapolis, more troubling than the huge wave of protests the killing sparked, even the ones that turned violent. A 59 majority of voters were more troubled by the police actions and Floyd's killing than protests that have turned violent, and that includes 54 percent of white voters, 78 percent of black voters, 65 percent of Hispanic voters, 81 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 29 percent of Republicans; 27 percent of voters said the protest violence was more troubling.

Opinions about Trump and his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, seem pretty calcified. Trump's job approval, 45 percent, is down 1 percentage point from April but well within the narrow 43-47 percent band in 18 WSJ/NBC polls conducted since the 2018 midterms. Biden's 7-point lead over Trump, 49 percent to 42 percent, is the same as two months ago, though Biden's lead grows to 8 points in 11 battleground states. Voters favor Democratic control of Congress over GOP control, 51 percent to 40 percent, a 5-point swing toward Democrats since January.

The WSJ/NBC News poll was conducted May 28 to June 2 among 1,000 registers voters contacted via phone. It's overall margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points.