[Above, on Monday night Rep. Eric Swalwell noted, "We’re up against a party that prefers violence over voting." - eds.]
As the country approaches the anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, a stunning 34% of Americans say using violence against the government is sometimes justified.
The new polling from The Washington Post-University of Maryland marks a significant increase in the sentiment compared to similar polling by major outlets over the last couple decades. In 2011, just 16% of respondents expressed a similar sentiment, and in 2015, 23% of adults said violent action against the government is sometimes justified, according to polls conducted by CBS News and The New York Times.
A more recent Public Religion Research Institute survey last fall found that 18% of Americans supported the statement that "true American patriots might have to resort to violence in order to save our country," including 30% of Republicans, 17% of independents, and 11% of Democrats.
But the Post-UMD poll found broader support among all parties for the more generalized statement: “Do you think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, or is it never justified?” Among the 34% who said it was justified, 40% were Republicans and 41% were independents, with just 23% of Democrats sharing the view.
While a solid majority of 62% said violence against the government was “never justified,” some 90% held that view when the Post asked the question in the '90s.
White Americans were also much more likely to embrace taking violent action against the government as acceptable, with 40% holding that view while just 18% of Black Americans said the same.
Overall, Americans are highly attuned to the specter of violence in today’s political environment. A new CBS News-YouGov poll found that in future presidential elections, 62% of adults expect violence from the losing side, while just 38% expect the losing side to concede peacefully.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.