One in three Americans say violence against government sometimes justified: poll

One in three Americans said it could sometimes be "justified for citizens to take violent action against the government" in a new poll, up significantly from previous years. 

The poll from The Washington Post-University of Maryland published Saturday found that 40 percent of Republicans said violent actions could be justified, compared to 23 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of independents. 

Overall, 62 percent of respondents said violence was never justified, and four percent either had no opinion or answered "justified" but "said in a follow-up question that they did not think violence was justified."

ADVERTISEMENT

Of those who said that violent actions could be merited, 22 percent said that such actions could be justified by the government violating or taking away people’s rights or freedoms, and 15 percent cited a potential military takeover or collapse of democracy. 

Overall, the percentage of people who said violence against the government was at times justified has increased in recent years. 

In October 2015, 23 percent of people said it was justified, compared to 16 percent in both January 2011 and April 2010 and 13 percent in April 1995, according to the researchers. 

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll also showed that 19 percent of respondents thought that the legal consequences for people who broke into the U.S. Capitol were too harsh, and 51 percent said they were not harsh enough. Another 28 percent said the punishments had been fair, and 3 percent had no opinion. 

But the poll also showed a wide partisan divide over former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE's responsibility for the events of Jan. 6. Among Democrats, 92 percent said Trump bears a "great deal" or a "good amount" of blame for the attack, compared to 27 percent of Republicans.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 17 and Dec. 19 and included 1,101 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. 

The poll comes as the U.S. nears the one year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since then, hundreds of those who participated in the attack have been charged for their actions.