Post-ABC poll: Politically motivated violence worries most Americans

Post-ABC poll: Politically motivated violence worries most Americans


A large and bipartisan majority of Americans worry that there is an increased risk of politically motivated violence in the United States, according to Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88 percent) are concerned that political divisions have intensified to the point that there is an increased risk of politically motivated violence in the United States, including over 6 in 10 who are “very concerned.”

Of the two parties, more Americans blame the Republican Party more for the risk of violence, but the difference is not huge – 31 percent, compared to 25 percent who blame the Democratic Party more. Another 32 percent blame both sides equally. Most Democrats and Republicans blame the opposing party.

The poll was conducted a week after Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked in their home by a hammer-wielding assailant and subsequently hospitalized. Alleged the attacker, David DePape, 42, yelled “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” after breaking into the Pelosis’ home, according to someone briefed on the attack. DePape’s online posts contain “deeply racist and anti-Semitic content — as well as pro-Trump and anti-Democrat posts,” The Washington Post registered.

On Wednesday night, President Biden begged the nation accept the basic principles of democracy — accept the election results and avoid resorting to violence.

“We must, with one overwhelming unified voice, speak as a country and say that there is no place in America, no place for voter intimidation or political violence, whether it’s directed at Democrats or Republicans,” Biden said. “No room, period. There is no place, ever.”

Detailed cross-tabulation of survey results

The FBI and other government agencies released a memo last week warning of an increased likelihood of violence by domestic extremists in the 90 days after electionsaccording to a copy of the document obtained by The Post.

“After the 2022 midterm elections, perceptions of electoral fraud and dissatisfaction with the election outcome are likely to result in increased threats of violence against a wide range of targets – such as ideological opponents and election workers,” the memo was read.

The Post-ABC poll shows that 95 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of independents are at least somewhat concerned that there is an increased risk of politically motivated violence. Three-quarters of Democrats are very concerned, compared to smaller majorities of independents and Republicans (61 percent and 56 percent).

Two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) say the Republican Party is more to blame for the risk of political violence, while 56 percent of Republicans blame the Democratic Party. A large number of independents, 39 percent, say both parties are to blame, while 24 percent more blame the Republicans and 20 percent the Democrats.

Women are more likely than men to be concerned about the increased risk of politically motivated violence: 92 percent of women say they are concerned, compared to 83 percent of men. Over two thirds of women are very worried.

Women are also more likely to blame the Republican Party for the risk of violence – 38 percent blame Republicans more, while 18 percent blame Democrats, and 33 percent blame both equally. Among men, 32 percent blame Democrats, 24 percent blame Republicans, and 30 percent blame both equally.

Politically motivated violence is not only a threat to the rich and powerful. Experts who monitor political violence say threats to local election workers, school board members and even librarians have been simmering for months.

“If one zeroes in on those individuals and then they decide to mobilize, there’s virtually nothing to stop them,” Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at the University of Maryland’s START Consortium for Terrorism Research, he told Post reporters.

The Washington Post-ABC News poll was held on October 31-November. 2 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults, with 75 percent available on cell phones and 25 percent on landlines. The overall results have a margin of sampling error of four percentage points.

Scott Clement contributed to this reporting.

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