(NEW YORK) — Broad, bipartisan numbers of Americans are concerned that political divisions are increasing the risk of politically motivated violence in this country, with majorities across the board highly concerned about it in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Who gets the blame, however, differs sharply among partisan and ideological groups.
A week after the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a vast 88% of adults express concern that political divisions have gotten to the point that there’s an increased risk of politically motivated violence in this country. Sixty-three percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, are “very” concerned.
By contrast, asking which political party is more to blame for this risk produces a closely divided, strongly partisan result: 31% blame the Republican Party, 25% blame the Democratic Party and 32% blame both parties equally. Just 11% don’t blame either or both.
Degrees of concern
Overall concern is striking for how it crosses political lines, with rare levels of partisan agreement. Ninety-five percent of Democrats, 87% of Republicans and 86% of independents are concerned about the risk of political violence. So are 95% of liberals, 89% of moderates and 84% of conservatives.
That said, there are gaps as to the degree. About three-quarters of Democrats and liberals are very concerned about the risk, dropping to 58% of conservatives and 56% of Republicans — albeit still majorities in all cases.
In another political measure, 93% of voters for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election and 83% of Donald Trump voters are concerned about the risk of violence. Although, again, there is a difference in intensity: 78% of Biden voters are very concerned, compared to 55% of Trump voters.
There are other differences among groups. Women are 10 percentage points more apt than men to be very concerned about the risk of politically motivated violence — 68% vs. 58%. Just among Democrats, this includes a 13-point gap in strong concern between women and men.
Additionally, older people are much more apt to be very concerned, declining linearly with age — from 75% of those ages 65 and up, down to 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds.
As noted, blame reverts to partisan predispositions. Sixty-six percent of Democrats blame the Republican Party for the risk of violence, and 56% of Republicans blame the Democratic Party. Political independents, for their part, are likeliest to blame both parties equally.
There’s also a sharp difference between men and women, reflecting political preferences between the sexes. Women broadly blame the Republican Party more than the Democratic Party (38% vs. 18%). Men blame the Democratic Party over the GOP, albeit more narrowly (32% vs. 24%).
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2022, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 percentage points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions in the full sample are 27%-27%-39%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.
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