Jan 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Poll: 1 in 10 Americans say violence against government is justifiable "right now"

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Roughly 1 in 10 Americans believe violence against the government is justifiable "right now," a poll by the COVID States Project out last Friday indicates.

The big picture: The report suggests Republicans and ideological conservatives are the most likely to justify political violence right now — about 18% of Republican men responded that it would be OK.

  • The figure compares with 10% of Republican women, 9% of Democratic men and 5% of Democratic women.
  • About a quarter of Americans think it is "definitely" or "probably" OK to ever "engage in violent protest against the government," the poll suggests.

What they're saying: "You know, we begin with the American Revolution against an illegitimate government and so we are, in a sense, taught from grade school that it is at some points in history justifiable to engage in violent protest," David Lazer, co-director of COVID States Project, told NPR.

Flashback: A poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland earlier this month found that 1 in 3 Americans believe that "violence against the government can at times be justified."

Methodology: The survey was conducted online by PureSpectrum, among a sample of 22,961 people across all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., from Dec. 22 to Jan. 24.

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