JANUARY 2023 SURVEY REPORT: New Insight into Support for Political Violence From the Right and Left Chicago Project on Security and Threats
Robert A. Pape  |  January 30, 2023

Our sixth and most recent CPOST/NORC survey on political violence was fielded January 12 to 17, 2023 and sampled over 2,100 American adults, with a margin of error of about 2.9 percent.  This survey asks questions to understand the scope and drivers for political violence in America to examine violent support for both right and left-wing causes. Like the previous five CPOST/NORC surveys, we track “Insurrectionist Movement” characterized by support for violence to restore former president Donlad Trump to the presidency.  But we also widen the aperture to understand support for violence in relation to police brutality, abortion rights, and minority voting rights.

This broad approach to understanding support for political violence from the right and the left is essential to anticipating flashpoints and critical for developing effective strategies to address and mitigate risks from wherever they arise to threaten the health and stability of American democracy.

The key findings of the January 2023 survey are:

  1. The size “Insurrectionist Movement” has stabilized. In September 2022, 5% of Americans believed force was justified to restore Trump to the presidency. Today that number is the same, at 5%.
  2. Support for violence in addressing causes on the Left is also stable, remains sizable, and comes predominantly from Democrats. Support for political violence on the Left stops far short of justifying the overthrow of the US government.Nevertheless, our new survey makes clear that support for political violence continues to extend across party lines.
  3. Support for political violence against members of Congress and on government officials is at a disturbing 9% -- the equivalent of 23 million adults -- and comes almost equally from the Right and Left.The 23 million breaks down as 10.6 million Republicans, 7.6 million Democrats, and 4.8 million Independents.
  4. There is also good news.Our January 2023 survey found that 80% of the public supports bipartisan solutions to American political violence, indicating that Americans are not polarized on this crucial issue and pointing the way forward for political leaders to work together to prevent political violence in the future.

The remainder of the report delves into these findings in greater detail.  The topline survey results are included as an appendix to this report.