Politics /

About Half of Both Republicans and Democrats View the Other Side as 'Enemies' That Threaten Their 'Entire Way of Life'

A new survey has revealed that about half of all Republicans and Democrats view the other side as “enemies” instead of just “political opposition.”

The CBS News/YouGov survey was focused on opinions surrounding the events that took place at the Capitol last January 6.

When asked about their feelings towards people in the other party, 43 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of Republicans view the other side as “enemies” who threaten their “entire way of life.”

The respondents were asked to classify the other side as either “enemy” or “political opposition.”

“When you look at the results by ideology it climbs, with 51% of self-identifying Democrats who are liberals saying they consider Republicans a threat and an enemy, versus 49% who selected ‘political opposition’ to describe Republicans,” Mediaite reports. “Looking at the right by ideology, 50% of self-identifying Republicans who are conservatives selected ‘enemy’ to describe Democrats, and 50% went with simply ‘political opposition.'”

When polled about political violence, about a quarter of Americans cited gun policies, abortion policies, civil rights, labor issues, and even vaccine and coronavirus policies as reasons that they may support it.

“Among liberals and Democrats, about four in 10 say civil rights and equality issues are important enough that violence might be justified over them, and a quarter name labor issues and abortion policies. For the right — that is, conservatives and Republicans — it’s more likely to be gun policies and election results, with about four in ten saying force might be justified on these issues,” the pollsters reported.

They pollsters found that “within each group, those who would justify violence tend to be younger, and somewhat more ideologically extreme — that is, identifying as very liberal or conservative. It’s important to note they also report being less likely to vote, which may reflect an inclination to seek political outcomes by other, less traditional means.”

“But it’s also associated with attitudes toward opponents: the partisans among them are more inclined to think the other side threatens their way of life and less likely to favor compromise in general,” the report explained.

“This is not wholly relegated to one ideology or political party, because on several issues, like labor issues, civil rights, abortion, and vaccines, we find comparable numbers of Democrats and Republicans saying violence might be justified, though Republicans are more apt to say so on elections and guns,” the report accompanying the poll results added. “Across all six issues tested, Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to select at least one issue as important enough to possibly justify violence. The formation of citizen militias — which for the purposes of this study, is not directly measuring action or violence — is acceptable to three in 10 Americans, driven by those on the right.”

This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,063 U.S. adult residents interviewed between December 27-30, 2021. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.6 points.

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