New public opinion research by the non-profit Public Religion Research Institute, a part of its 12th annual American Values Survey, has returned alarming results.
Close to one-third of Republicans in the survey, or 30%, agreed with the statement that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” That was more than the combined total of Democrats and independents who say the same thing (at 11% and 17%, respectively).
Robert Jones, founder of PRRI and CEO, is Robert Jones said the large proportion of Republicans who appear ready to endorse political violence is “a direct result of former President Trump calling into question the election.” Jones noted that according to the same survey, more than two-thirds of Republicans (68%) claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, as opposed to only 26% of independents and 6% of Democrats.
The study also showed that 39% believed Trump had won 2020, while only 10% rejected election misinformation. There was also evidence of a split on the basis of media consumption. 40% of Republicans who trust far right news sources agreed that violence might be necessary, while 32% of those who trust them disagreed. Fox News22% of those who trust mainstream media outlets. Respondents who stated violence may be necessary are more likely feel like strangers in the country. They also believe that God has given America a special place in human history.
This study comes out just before Tuesday’s “off-off-year” 2021 elections, with the national media focused on the race for governor in the swing state of Virginia. Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin has posed baseless conspiracy theories about this election and allowed surrogates perpetuate them Trump’s Big LieWhile avoiding extreme claims, he is able to provide some guidance. Youngkin has said the disgraced former president’s endorsement is an “honor”Trump has repeatedly stated this. urgedHis supporters to vote Youngkin. The unexpectedly close raceA significant symbolic victory for Republicans could be the alliance between Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic state that has largely voted Democratic since 2008.
PRRI Survey is not the only indicator that the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6This may be a trend, not an anomaly. Ashli Babbitt, a Jan. 6 rioterTrump and his followers made her a martyr after she was shot by a Capitol police officer as she tried to force her way into a secure area. At a recent rally in Virginia, Republicans pledged allegiance to a flag that was supposedly at the Capitol during that riot, and speakers called for Trump supporters to “monitor” election workers and officials. One Virginia election official recently described how Republican poll watchers in his state have acted with “a level of energy and sometimes aggression” and said he had received “very personal attacking, trolling emails accusing me, pre-election, of fraud and even making specific allegations of what the fraud would be.”
Indeed, the idea of hypothetical voter fraud justifying violence is a new concept on the American political stage. There have been accusations of fraudulent elections throughout American history — some valid, some bogus — but Trump and his supporters are alone in suggesting violence. (Officially, there was a second presidential election that led violence: The election in 1860(This was the spark that sparked Civil War. Trump’s team lost virtually all the dozens of court casesThe Supreme Court rejected all attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Even former Attorney General Bill Barr and many key Republican legislators rejected Trump’s claims of fraud, meaning that anyone who insists Trump was the real winner presumably thinks that the nefarious conspiracy included dozens of high-ranking Republicans.
Jones, PRRI CEO did not mention the additional context. However, it may not have been necessary. He described the results of the group’s new survey “an alarming finding,” adding: “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.”