Exposure to Images of Police-Civilian Interactions and Public Opinion about Law Enforcement and Government: An Experimental Test


The confrontations between civilian protesters and police forces in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 and Baltimore, Maryland in 2015 sparked a renewed public debate about the “militarization” of the police. Politicians and pundits expressed concern that the images and video of police officers confronting civilian protesters armed with machine guns and armored vehicles disseminated through mainstream and social media would undermine the mass public’s trust in law enforcement and rule of law, more broadly. We treated this concern as an empirical question. In May 2016, we fielded a survey experiment to a sample of participants drawn from Qualtrics’ national, online, opt-in panel. We randomly-exposed participants to one of three news pictures that depicted a spectrum of police-civilian interactions, ranging in nature from friendly to hostile. Images were designed to evoke thoughts of militarized policing, community policing, and stop-and-frisk policing. This survey data set also includes a variety of questions that allow researchers to test the effect of exposure to images of police-civilian interactions on confidence in local and national governments; confidence in local and national police; perceptions of police misconduct; perceptions of police bias; and public opinion about police weapons, equipment, and gear. Questions are also included to operationalize a range of demographic and political characteristics of participants.

English-speaking persons age 18 or older who live in the United States of America

web-based survey~~

DOI https://doi.org/10.3886/E117544V1
Metadata Access https://www.da-ra.de/oaip/oai?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_dc&identifier=oai:oai.da-ra.de:737897
Creator Wozniak, Kevin; Calfano, Brian; Drakulich, Kevin
Publisher ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Contributor University of Massachusetts Boston
Publication Year 2020
Rights Download
OpenAccess true
Contact ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Resource Type Dataset; experimental data, images: photographs, drawings, graphical representations, survey data
Discipline Social Sciences