Three out of every 10 Republicans believe the United States is so far gone that violence might be the only way to save it, according to a new poll released late last month.
Out of the 30 percent of Republicans who agreed that ‘true American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country,’ 39 percent also held the belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump.
The survey was conducted between Sept. 16 and Sept. 29 through online interviews with a random sample of 2,508 adults living in all 50 states. Nearly one in five, or 18 percent, of overall respondents said they agreed with the statement: “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,” including 30 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents.
“It is an alarming finding,” said Robert Jones, CEO and founder of PRRI. “I’ve been doing this a while, for decades, and it’s not the kind of finding that as a sociologist, a public opinion pollster, that you’re used to seeing.” Overall, the responses to this question illustrate the “significant and rapidly increasing polarization in the United States,” he said.
Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said that it’s “extremely disturbing” that “nearly a third of the Republicans measured in this poll are getting comfortable with the idea of political violence.” And, he said, the much smaller percentages of Democrats and independents who expressed support for this idea are also “enough to be concerning.”
“A large chunk of the Republican Party has been essentially radicalized,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. Beirich said she thinks “a lot of responsibility lies with Republican leadership” for failing to push back on the former president’s election fraud claims and efforts to downplay the violence of Jan. 6.
She noted that the few Republicans who have spoken out against these harmful narratives, like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, have faced political backlash.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BARRETT SPORT MEDIA
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