It’s been ten years since the first #BlackLivesMatter hashtag appeared on Twitter. A decade later, Pew Research Center conducted a survey to assess the current levels of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Their results show that nowadays, only 51% of American adults “say they support the Black Lives Matter movement.”
This is a significant drop from June 2020, when support for the BLM movement was at an all-time high where almost 70% of U.S. adults said they were supportive of the movement in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.
What caused this decrease? According to Pew, while support from Black and Hispanic populations registers around the same levels, the difference “is mostly a result of a declining share of white adults.”
A breakdown of the numbers by race reveals that “81% of Black adults say they support the movement, compared with 63% of Asian adults, 61% of Hispanic adults and 42% of White adults.”
This is significant because even though there is a slim majority still backing of the BLM movement, its goals of “tackling systemic racism has seen a sharp drop in support amid a conservative backlash — and reports of infighting and financial mismanagement of fledging BLM groups.”
Not only has support decreased, but opposition towards the movement has increased. Three years ago, the numbers of those against BLM hovered at 31%, but have now increased to 46% of Americans, according to the latest survey.
Unsurprisingly, partisanship has impacted the results. While 84% of Democrats were supportive, 82% of Republicans were in opposition. In addition, Democrats were more likely to use language such as empowering or inclusive when referring to the movement, and their Republican counterparts using words such as dangerous or divisive to describe BLM.
With regard to the BLM movement’s impact on several racial issues facing our nation, “[t]he survey shows about 32% of adults said the movement has been highly effective at bringing attention to racism against Black people.” The Pew survey also revealed that “[s]maller shares of US adults said the movement had a similar impact on increasing police accountability (14%), improving the lives of Black people (8%) and at improving race relations (7%).”
Pew conducted this nationally representative online survey April 10-16, 2023, using their American Trends Panel, which randomly selected a sample of 5,073 adult participants via probability-based methods.