Post-ABC poll: Politically motivated concerns many Americans


A broad and bipartisan majority of Americans fear politically motivated violence in the United States, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (88 percent) are concerned that political divisions are deepening.

Of the two parties, more Americans blame the Republican Party for the threat of violence, but the difference is not wide — 31 percent and 25 percent blame the Democratic Party more. Another 32 percent blame both parties equally. Most Democrats and Republicans blame the opposing party.

The election came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was hospitalized after being attacked with a hammer by an assailant. The accused Striker David DePape, 42, asked: “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” After breaking into Pelosi’s home, one person described the attack. The Washington Post reported that Depp’s online posts contained “deeply racist and anti-Semitic posts — as well as pro-Trump and anti-Democrat posts.”

On Wednesday night, President Biden pleaded with the country to accept the basic principles of democracy – to accept the election results and avoid turning to violence.

“We must speak with one incredible voice as a nation and say there is no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America, whether it’s aimed at Democrats or Republicans,” Biden said. “No place, period. No place ever.”

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The FBI and other government agencies issued a memo last week warning of an increase in attacks by domestic extremists in the 90 days after the election, according to a copy of the document obtained by The Post.

“Following the 2022 midterm elections, perceptions of election-related fraud and dissatisfaction with election results may lead to increased threats of violence against various targets — such as ideological opponents and poll workers,” the memo reads.

A post-ABC poll found 95 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of independents are at least somewhat concerned about politically motivated violence. Three-quarters of Democrats are very concerned, compared to a minority of libertarians and Republicans (61 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

Two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) say the Republican Party is responsible for the risk of political violence, while 56 percent of Republicans blame the Democratic Party. A majority of independents say 39 percent blame both parties, while 24 percent blame Republicans and 20 percent blame Democrats.

Women are more likely than men to experience political violence: 92 percent of women say they are concerned, compared to 83 percent of men. More than two-thirds of women are very concerned.

Women blame the Republican Party for the threat of violence — 38 percent blame Republicans more, 18 percent blame Democrats and 33 percent equally blame both. Among men, 32 percent blame Democrats, 24 percent blame Republicans, and 30 percent blame both equally.

Political violence is not just a threat to the rich and powerful. Experts tracking the political unrest say threats against local election officials, school board members and even librarians have been circulating for months.

Michael Jensen, a senior researcher at START Terrorism Research at the University of Maryland, told Post reporters: “If someone sets their sights on these individuals and then decides to act, there’s no stopping them.”

The Washington Post-ABC news poll from Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Among a random national sample of 1,005 adults, 75 percent were reached by cell phone and 25 percent by landline. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of four percentage points.

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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