Polls Indicate Widespread Concerns of Political Violence

Rachel S

Worried about ensuing violence related to politics and the impeachment hearings? You’re not alone.

Rasmussen Reports released the findings from a telephone poll that asked three questions of “likely voters”:

1 How concerned are you that those opposed to President Trump’s policies will resort to violence?

2 How concerned are you that President Trump’s impeachment and removal from office will lead to violence?

3 How likely is that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years?

What they found was a lot of angst. 53% of voters are concerned that Trump’s removal from office would lead to violence (24% are very concerned), but an even higher percentage are concerned about violence from Trump’s opponents: 59% are concerned, and 34% are very concerned. Roughly a third of voters consider an impending civil war likely.

Rasmussen goes on to break down the results by political parties:

But Democrats aren’t nearly as worried about Trump’s supporters which helps explain their strong support for the highly partisan impeachment effort. While 40% of Democrats are Very Concerned that those opposed to Trump’s policies will resort to violence, just 18% feel that way about his supporters if the president is removed from office.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing, however, 42% are Very Concerned that his removal from office will lead to violence. Only 17% of those who Strongly Disapprove of his job performance agree.

I find it interesting that these statistics seem to suggest that voters are more concerned about violence from their own party than the opposition. The people most interested in getting rid of President Trump are the ones least concerned about violence if he is removed from office. Did the words “wishful thinking” occur to anyone else? Or is it that people are more tuned in to their own party’s plans and therefore more aware of violent intentions among their own? Is everyone extremely violent, or is nobody?

Other polling data seem to suggest the former.

According to a Pew Research survey conducted in April and May, 85% of respondents believe that the “nature of political debate … has become more negative in recent years.”

An October 2018 survey conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on “800 full-time undergraduates” found that a significant number of students believe that violence is justified as a preventative measure against “hate speech.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the survey asked students if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “If someone is using hate speech or making racially charged comments, physical violence can be justified to prevent this person from espousing their hateful views.”

33% said that they “agree” with the statement.

Now, I can’t say for certainty what political views that 33% of college students held, but I do know that, by and large, there’s only one of the two major political parties that believe “hate speech” is even a thing. Just an observation.

If you wonder where this issue of violence is stemming from, wonder no more. There’s an answer.

Oof. There it is.

I know, I know, I know. Polling data isn’t necessarily indicative of the country at large. But even so, these numbers should worry you. Let’s all take a moment to solemnly swear and repeat after me:

  • I will not punch Democrats in the face just for being a Democrat, while acknowledging that sometimes people deserve a punch to the face regardless and if they happen to be a Democrat, well, that’s out of my hands (and fists).
  • I will not decisively judge a person based solely on their voting record, but if they were viciously pro-Bernie in 2016 and then jumped ship to be #withher after spending an entire primary season trashing Hillary I can acknowledge to myself that that raises some red flags and proceed with caution.
  • I will argue peacefully and without ad hominem attacks with those who disagree with my viewpoints, while endeavoring to understand where they come from, and keeping in mind that sometimes the answer to that is “sheer stupidity.”
  • I will still make jokes about Democratic politicians because listen, nobody’s perfect, and people like Shouty Grandpa Man have it coming.

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