Americans think violence against government can be justified, new polls find

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Jan 03, 2022, 07:34 AM(IST)

This is a file photo when a mob of supporters of ex-President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol in Washington, US. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The January 6 attack on the seat of Congress, led by supporters of Donald Trump, was "a harbinger of increasing political violence," and American democracy "is threatened," according to two-thirds of those surveyed for a CBS News poll.

As per the results of two polls released on Sunday, one year after the violent assault on the US Capitol, Americans remain genuinely concerned about the health of their democracy, with approximately a third believing that violence against the government can occasionally be justifiable.

According to two-thirds of those polled for a CBS News poll, the attack on the House of Representatives on January 6 was "a precursor of growing political violence," and American democracy "is jeopardised."

Meanwhile, according to a Washington Post/University of Maryland poll, Americans' "pride" in their democracy has decreased dramatically, from 90 percent in 2002 to 54 percent currently.

With the anniversary of January 6 approaching, polls show that there are several reasons to be concerned:

According to CBS, 28% of respondents feel force can be used to defend an election result, while 34% told The Washington Post that a violent action against the government can be justified on rare occasions — the highest percentage in decades.

The findings highlight the seemingly incompatible viewpoints that divide American society, which President Joe Biden, who entered office 14 days after the Capitol riots, has sought to bridge.

Two-thirds of Trump supporters believe Trump's baseless claim that Biden is not the democratically elected president.

Shortly before the Capitol assault, Trump addressed thousands of supporters, urging them that the election was "rigged" and that they should "fight like hell."

Sixty per cent of those polled believe Trump is to blame for the Capitol invasion, which occurred just as lawmakers were about to recognise Biden's victory.

Watch | Gravitas: US Capitol: How the World reacted

'Coordinated effort'

There again, opinion follows partisan lines: 83 percent of Trump voters placed his level of responsibility at only "some" or "none," the Post survey found.

And 26 percent of Americans want him to run again in 2024, according to CBS.

A select committee of the House of Representatives has spent months working to establish the roles and responsibility of those who incited or may have organised the protest.

Despite limited cooperation from Trump's inner circle, the panel has conducted more than 300 interviews and collected thousands of documents.

"We have uncovered some things that cause us real concern, things like people trying to ... undermine the integrity of our democracy," the panel's chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, said Sunday on ABC.

"It appeared to be a coordinated effort on the part of a number of people to undermine the election," he said.

"It could be people in the executive branch. It could be people in the Department of Defence... and some very wealthy individuals."

He said he would not hesitate to refer any evidence of illegality to the Justice Department.

Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the panel, on Sunday strongly condemned Trump for waiting hours before urging the Capitol rioters to stand down.

He could easily have issued such a call, she told ABC.

"He failed to do so. It's hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty."

(With inputs from agencies)

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