Poll: Half Of Americans Believe Civil War Is Coming Soon

Rioter carries a Confederate flag in the U.S. Capitol, January 6th, 2021.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last night on a new study released by the University of California at Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program, looking at the current attitudes of Americans with regard to political violence 18 months after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 that tried and failed to obstruct the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential elections.

In an era where hyperbole is the norm rather than the exception, it’s easy to get unnecessarily worked up–and desensitized–by overheated rhetoric. But the results of this study, if accurate, should deeply concern every American:

One in five Americans believes that violence can be at least sometimes justified “to advance an important political objective,” and half believe that a civil war is on the way “in the next few years,” according to a new nationwide survey by researchers at UC Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program…

When asked questions about specific objectives, nearly 12% of respondents said that violence could be at least sometimes justified “to return Donald Trump to the presidency this year” and nearly 25% said “to stop an election from being stolen.”

Meanwhile, around 7% of respondents believed it could be at least sometimes justified to use violence “to stop people who do not share my beliefs from voting,” about 24% said it could be OK “to preserve an American way of life based on Western European traditions,” almost 19% “to oppose the government when it does not share my beliefs,” and 38% “to oppose the government when it tries to take private land for public purposes.”

…The survey of 8,620 people aimed to learn more about what was motivating Americans at a time when researchers noted that both gun violence and gun purchases are increasing, more people believe QAnon-type conspiracy theories, and political polarization is widening.

Militant far-right ideologues often make the claim that only 3% of the population of the American colonies actually participated in the American War for Independence. The truth is the percentage was substantially higher than that, though never a majority of the population participating in combat. This has given rise to a persistent belief on the militant right that majority support for their agenda is neither necessary nor even desirable. And that means democracy is no longer their highest priority.

The numbers in this survey bear that out:

In one of the survey’s more startling findings, more than 40% of the respondents said that “having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy.” [Pols emphasis]

If 40% of Americans in 2022 really believe a “strong leader” is more important than democracy, and 24% say violence is appropriate to preserve the “American way of life based on Western European traditions,” and 25% to stop a future election from “being stolen,” that is more than enough of a mass abandonment of the founding principles of the country to lead to escalating political violence. Although Donald Trump bears major responsibility for destabilizing American politics and sowing doubt about the integrity of our elections, Trump might not personally be the beneficiary of the chaos he’s planted in the heart of American democracy.

Trump, for all the harm he did, was self-limited by his own incompetence. Thanks to Trump, the stage has been set for someone smarter to succeed where Trump failed.

Needless to say, we hope this study is wrong.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. It doesn’t have to go the way it went in 1861.

    There are countries that have had amicable divorces (i.e., the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Even the USSR had a relatively amicable dissolution until recently when the biggest member decided to force itself upon one of the other members.

    What needs to be done – and this is something that even the wackiest MAGA member and the most bleeding-hearted liberal member of the House and Senate should be able to reach agreement upon:  a constitutional amendment to allow for states to withdraw from the Union.

    After the separation, we are going to have to live with “those people” on our border so we will need to find some way to co-exist with them. 

    I’m absolutely serious about this. And we don’t need to point fingers at each other. Each party views itself as the victim in an abusive relationship. It doesn’t matter who started it. The question is:  do we want to get out of the abusive relationship or just complain about it?

    PS   The Confederate State of America, or MAGA-land or whatever they want to be known as will have to assume custody of Thomas, Alioto, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I don't think this is doable because it doesn't fall along regional lines. Does Austin & Houston stay in blue America while Texas goes to red America. And even most of the crazies probably realize their red America is a 3rd world country without the cities in their state, yet their cities are blue.

      Not to mention Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, etc. would be a repeat of bleeding Kansas.

      • Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

        Good point but there is a possible solution to that.

        Each country would need to allow migration. The Prius-driving, pro-choice, post-secondary-educated in Houston and Dallas can move to Colorado while those in Grand Junction, Sterling, and Greeley who are gun-toting, egg-loving, homophobic, climate deniers can migrate to the Lone Star State.

        And since the migration would be in both directions, neither side should impair the ability of folks seeking to be with their own kind.

        • Dano says:

          I agree 100% with this plan and think it would be great. My only requirement is the MAGAt are going to leave and form their own totalitarian utopia, they have to take Texas with them.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          "would need to allow migration….."

          Czechia and Slovakia in the '90s is not a good example for this. It likely would resemble India and Pakistan in 1947 when millions died.

          Anyone who thinks a split here would be amicable is naive. How many militia thugs that love to "own the libs" wouldn't mind bagging a few as they pass by? Who's going to prosecute them in their new red state?

          • Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

            The red state inhabitants will still want and need stuff from the blue states so international commerce is something the red state leaders will need to keep in mind. It will behoove them to keep their MAGA idiots in line if they want good trading relations with the libs. 

            Besides, the only alternative to an amicable split up will be a messy divorce and while the folks who go through messy divorces often enjoy the drama, the acrimony, the recriminations, and the opportunity to play the victim, when all is said and done, they realize after the fact that it could have been done a lot cheaper (the lawyers always come out on top) and with a lot less emotional distress.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        and with the various manipulations of voting districts, voting registrations, and the process of voting … what would count as a "vote" for secession?

        If Congress has to vote to let states in, would Congress have to vote to let states out? 

        And then, there are the pragmatics … who pays for what?  Do federal agencies (including DoD) simply go with the territory?  How long would it take to rework all the contracts and subcontracts for long-term projects, like building an aircraft carrier or a new generation fighter jet? 

        People can say all sorts of things in a poll … but when they actually start considering that the "violence" they think is justifiable might impact their neighborhood, their children, and their friends, the reality would help them reconsider.

        • notaskinnycook says:

          I say let them go, but they get no foreign aid from what remains of the U.S., and they can't petition for readmittance when they realize they're a Third World country without the blue states they scorned when they left.. 

    • coloradosane says:

      Divide, we will be conquered.  The US liberal – conservative divide is not real, the fascist fake conservatism is a minority that divided and conquered the GOP via Trump and Tea Party freaks. They are the problem and being enabled by weak liberal outreach to rural voters, while GOP enabled, enables the fascist element to punch above their weight. 

    • Duke Cox says:

      Some reason you exclude Gorsuch from that group? ( this better be good. 😉)

  2. IndependentProgressive says:

    A free article reporting on this study can be found at: 

    The Guardian – One in five US adults condone ‘justified’ political violence, mega-survey finds


  3. DavidThi808 says:

    Up to the Civil War the South used not only the threat of violence, but actual violence to keep their "states rights." This is not a new thing.

  4. Lloyd42 says:

    Hell, 24% of Americans howl at the Full Moon, and 22% believe LBJ killed JFK.  32% are Trumpcultists.  And 25% believe liberals don’t own guns.  Let’s Go, Darwin, Make America Smart Again.

  5. skeptical citizen says:

    Can't wait for world's 6th largest economy, California, to stop sending tax revenue to the Republic of Gilead.

  6. COgator95 says:

    This is all talk from a very small minority of the GQP riled up by the lies spewed by donnie and his accomplices at the propaganda outlets fox, oann, newsmax and others.

    Do people seriously think that the US Government would stand by and let this happen? The individual state's National Guard would be federalized in a heartbeat in order to tamp down any "up rising" from these three percenters, proud boys or oath keepers militias. Most of those idiots calling for civil war on the right will shit themselves once the first bullet whizzes by their nappy head. I'm not worried at all.

    • Meiner49er says:

      It's not just talk, it's a stoked media fantasy in the same way that Trump was. Like it or not, this shit sells. That said, how the Insurrection Act would be invoked would depend a lot on the President that invokes it. I for one sure don't want to see Trump get another shot at that. I'm not sure the military would be firing on the insurrectionists.

  7. MichaelBowman says:

    Is Josh Hawley going to be one of the Generals?  If so, I’m not all that worried 🤣

  8. Voyageur says:

    Double-time Hawley bravely ran away.

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