Almost Third Of Americans Say Political Violence May Be Necessary, Survey Shows
In the wake of the Capitol riots, many have claimed the violent mob behind the deadly attack represents only a small minority of Americans.
However, a new survey has shown that support for political violence may be more widespread than first thought.
According to a survey from the American Enterprise Institute Survey Centre on American Life, nearly three in 10 Americans supported taking ‘violent actions’ to ‘protect America,’ with 55% of Republicans agreeing that ‘the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it’.
Although two in three Americans rejected the use of violence for political goals, AEI Survey Centre director Daniel Cox described the level of acceptance of potential violence as ‘a really dramatic finding,’ saying, ‘I think any time you have a significant number of the public saying use of force can be justified in our political system, that’s pretty scary’.
Importantly, the results don’t necessarily reflect whether people would be willing to engage in violence themselves, or even if they would support such actions if it really came down it.
Cox told NPR, ‘We shouldn’t run out and say, ‘Oh, my goodness, 40% of Republicans are going to attack the Capitol’,’ but added that it’s reasonable to assume that an increased support for violence could ultimately make such violence more likely to happen. He added, ‘If I believe something, I may act on it, and I may not… but under the right circumstances, if you have this worldview, then you are more inclined to act in a certain way if you are presented with that option.’
The survey also found increasingly high levels of distrust among Republican voters towards the government, with two-thirds saying they still didn’t believe President Biden’s election victory was legitimate, and a massive 80% agreeing that the system was ‘stacked against conservatives and people with traditional values’. Republicans are also roughly split in their belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, with as many saying they either mostly or completely believe that Trump is ‘secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites’ as reject the claim as entirely inaccurate.
By comparison, only 15% of the 2,016 Americans surveyed said that they believe in the QAnon conspiracy, although worryingly fewer than 50% were able to say that they completely rejected the theory. Support for political violence, Trump and the QAnon theory was also heavily split along racial and religious lines, with White evangelical Christians ‘far more likely’ to support the various conspiracies.
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