A new study indicates that American society is more quickly being radicalized and that acceptance of political violence is on the upswing.
The University of Chicago’s Project on Security & Threats (CPOST) research center has been conducting surveys on political violence and Americans’ attitudes about democracy since the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
This latest survey polled 3,543 individuals and found that a growing number of people favor using violence to keep former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House: nearly twice the number of those who would support using violence to return him to power.
According to the data, 11.6 percent agree that violence is justified to stop Trump’s bid for the presidency. If that percentage holds true across the U.S. population, it would mean an estimated 30 million people would be willing to commit political violence to stop the GOP’s frontrunner candidate. The data also show that 6.9 percent would support violence to restore Trump to power as president, which would translate to 18 million people if the polling percentage holds up nationwide.
“The indictment is radicalizing support for Trump, but that’s not the only source of radicalization,” Robert Pape, a University of Chicago professor who led the research, told The Guardian. “You’re seeing growing anger and radicalization on the left as well.”
30 million say “use of force” justified to prevent another Trump presidency, compared to 18 million who say same about restoring Trump presidency, per @ProfessorPape on @FaceTheNation. pic.twitter.com/KBHZO9cNsd
— Brent Baker 🇺🇦 (@BrentHBaker) August 13, 2023
This latest survey marks the first increase in support for political violence since April of 2022. According to the report, the shift “likely reflects the response of more commitment to Trump” following his indictment.
“The public is more radicalized than it was in April and it’s really quite significant,” Pape said. “We’ve been tracking this quite a while, and this is a really big bump.”
He added, “Things are definitely heading in the wrong direction in terms of the radicalization of the country and we need to be aware of that because there were some hopes that the Trump indictment would actually reduce support for Trump.”
The key findings of the latest data also indicate that acceptance of political violence against lawmakers in congress is surging among Democrats and left-leaning individuals..
“As of June 26, 2023, 17 percent of the American public – which equates to an estimated 44 million adults – agreed with the statement, ‘Use of force is justified to ensure members of Congress and other government officials do the right thing,'” the report says. “This percentage has grown by nearly double since January 2023,” with the biggest increase being among Democrats, more than doubling over the past six months.