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ASPartOfMe
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13 Jun 2022, 10:14 am

SPLC Poll Finds Substantial Support for ‘Great Replacement’ Theory and Other Hard-Right Idea

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In late April, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Tulchin Research conducted a poll of 1,500 Americans to examine the extent to which the extremist beliefs and narratives that mobilize the hard right have been absorbed by the wider American public.

We found that the ideas underpinning the white nationalist “great replacement” narrative recently cited by an alleged white supremacist terrorist in Buffalo, New York, have become thoroughly mainstream on the political right. Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans surveyed agree to at least some extent that demographic changes in the United States are deliberately driven by liberal and progressive politicians attempting to gain political power by “replacing more conservative white voters.” Across the political spectrum, we found substantial support for threatening or acting violently against perceived political opponents.

We also uncovered a widespread feeling — especially among right-leaning Americans — that transgender people and “gender ideology” pose a threat to children and society at large. These anti-LGBTQ, misogynistic and racist narratives have been promoted by many Republican politicians and other powerful right-wing figures, helping the ideas infiltrate the mainstream and contributing to an increasingly volatile and dangerous political environment.

The SPLC survey was not designed to simply measure prejudice or bigotry. Instead, we set out to examine to what degree people in certain groups feel threatened or persecuted by members of a defined “outgroup.” The belief that one group of people is inherently harmful to your own is foundational to extremism, as is the idea that the well-being and survival of the “in group” depends on taking hostile action against those who supposedly threaten it. The man allegedly responsible for the shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, for example, argued that Jews, immigrants and Latinos, in addition to the Black people he targeted, posed an existential threat to the white race, leading him to conclude that “fighting is the only way.” Hostile actions against an outgroup can take the forms of violence like terrorist attacks, but it can also include conduct like abusive language or discriminatory and dehumanizing legislation.

In addition to extremist narratives, our survey looked at levels of partisanship, tolerance for antidemocratic actions, and expressions of approval for different kinds of political violence. What we found was a great deal of hostility for people on the other side of the political aisle. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats believe their political opponents pose a threat to the country and want to harm their political opponents. That kind of animosity could fuel partisan violence — a possibility that our results suggest we should take seriously. When we asked respondents if they approved of threatening or assassinating a politician, for example, roughly one in five said they at least somewhat approved.

While levels of support for threats and violence generally do not differ substantially among partisans, Republicans are more likely to agree that “some violence may be necessary to get the country back on track.” The mood, overall, is pessimistic: 44% of Americans agree that the “U.S. seems headed toward a civil war in the near future,” including 53% of Republicans and 39% of Democrats.

On the right, our poll suggests a pervasive sense not only that America has lost touch with “traditional values,” but that societal changes pose a danger to society and, in some cases, white Americans in particular. Right-leaning Americans are more likely to view movements aimed at building an equitable society, including feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement, as threatening. Many believe that elements of today’s political environment — including the 2020 racial justice protests and demographic changes — unfairly malign or threaten white people. This is combined with pervasive distrust of democratic institutions and feelings that more conservative Americans are being persecuted by the government and the political left. Each side has radically different visions of America: on the right, a large faction is invested in pushing back against pluralism and equity, while the left largely embraces those values.

Our survey shows that the hard right could make greater political gains and, in the process, further erode our democracy and create conditions — through activism, policy and violence — that would disproportionately harm communities that continue to be marginalized in our society. No political outcomes are inevitable. But our results show that a substantial effort, on the part of activists, institutions, and government, will be required if we hope to secure a multiracial democracy and prevent partisan violence.

We found that a plurality of Americans has a positive view of the country’s changing demographics. But the same is not true for Republicans, a majority of whom viewed those changes not only negatively, but as a threat to white Americans. And a large majority — 67% — believe the country’s demographic changes are being orchestrated by “liberal leaders actively trying to leverage political power by replacing more conservative white voters.”

Republican responses were in stark contrast to those of self-identified Democrats, 64% of whom say they find the county’s increasing diversity to be at least a somewhat positive development, 25% who say demographic changes represent a threat to white Americans, and 35% who say those changes are being orchestrated by liberals.

Significantly, on the right, the belief that the left is using immigration to erode the political power of conservative white voters is correlated with other conspiratorial beliefs. Over three-quarters of those who believe the 2020 presidential election was “fraudulent, rigged and illegitimate” also at least somewhat agree that liberals are replacing conservative white voters, while 75% of those who believe the government is using the Jan. 6 insurrection to justify the political persecution of conservative Americans also agree with the replacement conspiracy.

Republicans are also most likely to have a negative view of the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 racial justice protests. Three-quarters of Republicans says they at least somewhat agree that Black Lives Matter activists are a threat to the country, compared to 34% of Democrats.

Most Republicans see the 2020 racial justice protests not just in a negative light, but as an attack on white people. When presented with three descriptions of the 2020 racial justice protests — one that said they drew necessary attention to the ongoing and shameful problem of racial inequality, a second that said that while they drew attention to the problem of racial inequality they were ultimately “counterproductive and violent,” and a third that said they were destructive and an “overreaction that has unfairly made white people the enemy in America” — a majority of Republicans agreed with the third statement. Older people were also more likely to agree that the protests made white people into the “enemy,” even among Republican respondents.

While an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that women in the workplace strengthen our economy (82%) and say they would be comfortable with a woman as president (75%), our survey also found that a majority of men under 50 on the right, and a near majority of their Democratic counterparts, say feminism has “done more harm than good.” Republicans — and, again, younger men especially — are also likely to view transgender people in a negative or threatening light. Taken together, these results suggest that a sizable proportion of men across the political spectrum, as well as large numbers of right-leaning women, perceive the progress made toward transgender rights and gender equality as potential threats.

While Republican men are most likely to see feminism as a net negative for society, those feelings are highest among younger Republican men — 62% of whom say it has done more harm than good. But 42% of younger Democratic men agree, compared to less than a quarter of young Democratic women. Across the political spectrum, men under 50 are in even greater agreement that “men should be respected and valued more in our society” — a belief held by 65% of younger Republican men and 60% of younger men who are Democrats.

When we asked respondents if they believed transgender people are a threat to children, 30% overall agreed — including 23% of Democrats, 39% of Republicans, and 27% of independents. The number of people who agreed that transgender people “are trying to indoctrinate children into their lifestyle” was far higher, but only among Republicans and independents — 63% and 39%, respectively, who agreed.

Overall, 49% of people said they believe gender ideology has corrupted American culture, including 34% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 45% of Independents.

Just over half of people overall agree that the government “has become tyrannical,” including 70% of Republicans and 78% of those who consider themselves “very conservative.” Only 29% of Republicans say they have even a fair amount of trust in the Federal government, compared to 60% of Democrats. Significantly more Republicans have faith in their state and local governments — 51% and 59% — while Democrats’ level of confidence remains steady across those institutions.

Forty-nine percent of Republicans believe the 2020 election was “fraudulent, rigged and illegitimate,” and only 36% of the same group says they have even a fair amount of faith in elections officials. Just over half of Republicans believe the Jan. 6 insurrection was mostly made up of Americans “protesting against election fraud and an unfair and illegitimate change in political leadership” — a belief that is highest among Republican men under 50 (60% agree).

Those on the right also tend to believe that the government is using Jan. 6 to “justify the political persecute of conservative Americans” — 67% of Trump voters, as compared to 19% of Biden voters.

The belief that the government might try to take people’s guns — a conspiracy widely pushed by the anti-government movement — is shared by more than half of gun owners, including 62% of gun owners who are Republicans and 35% of those who are Democrats.

Sixty-three percent of Republicans say Democrats are a threat to the country, while 67% of Democrats believe the same about the opposing party. While each side views the other as similarly threatening, Republicans rank “extremists in the Democratic Party” as the most pressing threat facing the country, while Democrats believe the top three threats, in descending order, are Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and extremists in the Republican Party.

Those on the right appear more likely to approve of political violence. When asked whether they believed that “some violence might be necessary to protect the country from radical extremists,” 41% of Republicans agreed, compared to 34% of Democrats and 29% of independents. Over half of Republicans say the country seems headed toward a civil war in the near future, compared to 39% of Democrats.

While most Americans reject antidemocratic actions and political violence, a substantial minority — and, sometimes, a majority — do not.

When we asked if people approved of assassinating a politician described in the same way, 1 in 5 approved. Levels of approval for both scenarios were slightly higher for Democrats than Republicans, driven largely by the approval of younger Democratic men. In perhaps a telling sign of the deep antagonism partisans feel for one another, more people approve of threatening or assassinating politicians they deem harmful than approve of destroying public or private property as a form of protest.

This was obviously a poll taken with an agenda, to prove Republicans are an illiberal threat. How the report was written starting with the title shows that. This poll found deeply disturbing evidence supporting that.

While doing that they stumbled onto evidence that the illiberal threat is not limited to Republicans. I bolded a couple of things showing that not to say that both threats are just as bad but that both are bad. While indeed a lot more republicans supported ideas associated with conservative illiberalism then Democrats, on some of these topics a significant minority of Democrats especially younger Democrat men agree with ideas associated with conservative illiberalism and conspiracy theories. This was eye opening.

This poll is suggestive that party affiliation and “conservative” ideology while still hugely important is far from the only demographics with beliefs associated with them. In particular younger democrat men need to be a subject for more research not only about these beliefs but in general.


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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13 Jun 2022, 1:20 pm

And not a single mention of jobs and the slow decline of the American middle class. :P

In my next post I’m going to include a graph which shows the decline of adult Americans with middle incomes — and it’s not as bad as many people think it is. :D

But—

It’s plenty bad enough. And if we have economic decline, of course we’re going to have scapegoating of various types. I mean, would you seriously expect not to?

And then, just the baseline of a fair percentage of people have always believe in kind of crazy stuff. It makes the world more magical, I guess!



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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13 Jun 2022, 2:14 pm

https://www.pewresearch.org/social-tren ... ng-ground/

Image


A little dated now, in that it ends at 2015. But it shows a long-term trend starting in 1971.

* median size-adjusted household income is that at which exactly half the households make less and half make more

** This defines “middle income” as from 2/3’s of median income to double median.

And from 1971:

4% have moved downward, and

7% have moved upward.

So, on balance a good thing, right? No, I consider the (slow) splitting of the middle-class to be not good for the long-term health of society.

And please notice that the 4% went from “middle” all the way to “lowest.” Maybe 1% experienced the big drop themselves, whereas just maybe 3% went to “lower middle” and a different 3% from there went on to “lowest.” In other words, a cascading down effect.

And in raw numbers, plenty of angry people.

And there are occasional articles which talk about the anger of older white men, who don’t have the same privileged position they used to.

But also plenty of angry women, plenty of angry Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native American citizens, etc, etc, etc.

Or to list music types, plenty of people currently excluded — at least partially — who are fans of rap, country, heavy metal, classic rock, etc, etc, etc.

It is not good for either the person or for society for the person to feel like they are not needed or appreciated, and that there is not really a place for them.



ASPartOfMe
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13 Jun 2022, 6:16 pm

AardvarkGoodSwimmer wrote:
And not a single mention of jobs and the slow decline of the American middle class. :P

In my next post I’m going to include a graph which shows the decline of adult Americans with middle incomes — and it’s not as bad as many people think it is. :D

But—

It’s plenty bad enough. And if we have economic decline, of course we’re going to have scapegoating of various types. I mean, would you seriously expect not to?

And then, just the baseline of a fair percentage of people have always believe in kind of crazy stuff. It makes the world more magical, I guess!

It is a poll about attitudes, not the causation of these attitudes.


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AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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15 Jun 2022, 10:10 am

And it looks like a perfectly okay poll, taken between April 18 - 25, 2022.



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11 Jul 2022, 2:19 pm

What I find most disturbing is that it seems like very few people are capable of taking a step back and looking at the issue without a knee-jerk partisan reaction. Everyone gets so easily sucked in to some kind of warring position for one side or the other because they're so EMOTIONAL.

It leaves only broken, mentally ill deviants who belong in mental wards able to see that it's a trap, and they're all in bed together (A joke, obviously making fun of their stance on our intellect as "disabled" individuals, and how we're usually the level headed ones, lol.) Why else would Biden get an email from Tucker Carlson about having a family get together and dinner, and then asking if Biden could put in a good word for his son to get in to Georgetown university?