New Polls Show the Depth of Division and Threats to Democracy

In a crowd of protesters, a man holds a sign up that says: "I wish this were fake news"
Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

By Alliance President Terry Gips

I’m sorry to start your New Year with several disturbing just-released polls that Politico covered underscoring the current threat to our democracy as we prepare for the first anniversary of Jan 6. We need to face these disturbing facts and take action to avert a takeover, authoritarian regime and uncivil war.

Poll 1: A Washington Post – University of Maryland poll shows that 40% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 23% of Democrats say that violent action against the government is sometimes justified. According to the Post: “The percentage of Americans who say violent action against the government is justified at times stands at 34 percent, which is considerably higher than in past polls by the Post or other major news organizations dating back more than two decades.”

Poll 2: CBS reporting on its new CBS/YouGov poll finds that 68% of respondents see the Jan. 6 attacks as “a harbinger of increasing political violence, not an isolated incident…There is 12% of the country, and a fifth of Trump’s 2020 voters, that want Trump to fight to retake the presidency right now, before the next election…”

“[A] third of the people within that 12% say he should use force if necessary. While that only amounts to 4% of the population, it still translates into millions of Americans effectively willing to see a forceful change in the executive branch.”

The same poll found that four in 10 Republicans say most of those who forced their way into the Capitol were left-leaning groups pretending to be Trump supporters. Only 21% of Republicans called Jan 6 an “insurrection” vs. 85% of Democrats.

Poll 3: A new ABC/Ipsos poll shows that 65% of Americans believe that President BIden’s 2020 victory was legitimate (down from 68% a year ago) while 71% of Republicans believe Trump’s false claims that he was the winner.

As my friend and long-time democracy and human rights leader Robert Kesten has just written:

“Accept this moment of inconvenience, take a chance to live outside your silo. Save what is the last great hope of freedom; build that democratic, resilient, inclusive, responsive, human rights focused world where your priorities are everyone’s priorities and dignity is not a gift but a right.“

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