National Security

1 in 4 Americans say violence against government sometimes justified: poll

Almost a quarter of Americans said in a new poll that it is sometimes OK to use violence against the government. 

Nearly 1 in 4 respondents said use of violence against the government was “definitely” or “probably” justifiable, according to the COVID States Project, which asked 23,000 people if it was “ever justifiable to engage in violent protest against the government,” NPR reported.

The percentage of liberals and conservatives who said that violence was at times justifiable were similar. 

The survey also showed that 1 in 10 Americans say violence is justified right now.

Overall, the belief that violence would be justified now is most commonly held by Republicans and ideological conservatives, at 1 in 5 respondents, NPR added.

The COVID States Project’s findings come after a University of Chicago poll found last year that almost 1 in 10 Americans said the use of force was justified after former President Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

Another poll last month from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland indicated that 1 in 3 Americans said violence against the government is sometimes justified, marking a significant increase from previous years.

COVID States Project co-Director David Lazer attributed the general belief that violence is justified in part to the way American history is taught, according to NPR. 

“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,” he told the outlet.

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