Andy Monserud, Courthouse News, June 30, 2022
A new University of Chicago poll found that over a quarter of a deeply alienated American public, particularly those who identify as Republican, believe that it may “soon be necessary to take up arms” against the government,
The poll, a collaboration between Republican and Democratic pollsters Neil Newhouse and Joel Benenson, respectively, surveyed 1,000 registered voters around the U.S.. A slight majority of those, 56%, said they believed the government was corrupt and “rigged against everyday people like me,” with self-identified Republicans polling substantially higher on that question than Democrats.
In total, 28% of voters agreed with the statement “it may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government.” That skewed heavily toward Republicans, with one in three Republicans and 45% of self-identified “strong Republicans” agreeing with the statement. The GOP doesn’t hold a monopoly on the sentiment, though – one in five Democrats agreed, as did 35% of self-identified independent voters.
The belief in armed resistance was loosely correlated with actual gun ownership. About 37% of those who said they had guns in their homes also agreed with the “taking up arms” statement.
“These really are stunning results, that really go to the depth of the nation’s partisan divide and the extent to which Americans really don’t trust the media to provide unbiased information,” Newhouse said in an interview. “The bottom line is, it’s worse out there than we thought.”
Newhouse also pointed to the impact of political divides on Americans’ personal lives.
“The data really shows that it has personal consequences,” he said. “People have lost friends. They’ve avoided discussions about politics. They’ve quit social media, they’ve stopped buying a brand because of their partisan views…. They have taken action because of their political experiences.”