Photo Illustration by Elena Scotti/Fusion

Despite intense public scrutiny on some policing practices, and their own personal brushes with law enforcement, young adults still view officers in a generally positive light.

That’s according to Fusion's Massive Millennial Poll, which surveyed 1,000 people aged 18-34 about everything from politics to dating to race issues. (For full results and methodology, click here.)

Overall, the poll found, 83 percent of the millennials say police are "good guys,” while just 8 percent said cops are "bad guys.” (Nine percent said that they didn’t know.)

Even among African Americans, who reported a significantly higher rate of  “negative interactions” with police than did whites or Hispanics—42 percent compared with 25 and 28 percent, respectively—67 percent still identified cops as good guys.


Fusion also asked young adults which they consider a great personal threat: crime or the way police treat people.

Whites were least worried about the police, with only 14 percent saying that they fear cops more than crime. But a higher rate of Hispanics (21 percent) said so, and there was an even higher rate among African-Americans (36 percent).


What’s more, more than half (57 percent) of African-Americans said they feel more threatened by crime than the way police treat them.

But there was broad agreement across all groups of millennials that racism is a “problem.”


A total of 93 percent of respondents said so. People living in the Northeast, African-Americans, those between the ages of 25-29, and self-described liberals felt the strongest about it, though only by differences of a few percentage points. Out of those who said racism is "not at all a problem," Hispanics led, with 8 percent holding that opinion.

Still, most millennials say that things are getting better with their generation. Most respondents reported that they feel more tolerant than their parents were at their age.

In fact, every group Fusion tracked said that race relations will get better within this lifetime, with one exception: African-Americans. Only 33 percent of African-Americans said that things will get better this lifetime, compared to 56 percent of whites and 62 percent of Hispanics.


A full 43 percent of African-Americans expect race relations in this country to stay "about the same" in this lifetime.

Fusion’s Massive Millennial Poll surveyed 1,000 people between the ages of 18 to 34, with a general population sample and an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points. The interviews were conducted via telephone from Jan. 6 to Jan. 11. For more on our methodology and poll results, click here.

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.