Quote of the day—Kalmoe and Mason

Items PV3 and PV4 from the CCES involve justifying violence by the inparty to
advance political goals. Terrorism, in other words. PV3 asks about violence today. PV4 asks
for responses if the outparty wins the 2020 presidential election, a hypothetical but realistic
scenario given recent alternation in party control of the presidency. Nine percent of
Republicans and Democrats say that, in general, violence is at least occasionally acceptable.  However, when imagining an electoral loss in 2020, larger percentages of both parties
approve of the use of violence – though this increase is greater for Democrats (18 percent
approve) than Republicans (13 percent approve).


Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason
Lethal Mass Partisanship:  Prevalence, Correlates, & Electoral Contingencies
[H/T to J.D. Tuccille.

The questions PV1 –> PV4 were as follows:

Political Violence
When, if ever, is it OK for [Own party] to send threatening and intimidating messages to [Opposing party] leaders?
When, if ever, is it OK for an ordinary [Own party] in the public to harass an ordinary [Opposing party] on the Internet, in a way that makes the target feel unsafe4?
How much do you feel it is justified for [Own party] to use violence in advancing their political goals these days?
What if [Opposing party] win the 2020 presidential election? How much do you feel violence would be justified then? 
4 “Unsafe” was replaced with “frightened” in the Nielsen survey.

I’m surprised by two things in this study.

  1. The number of people supporting violent threats and action is higher than I would have thought. I would have expected it to be not over one or two percent for any of the questions for either party. Sure, there are a lot of people advocating violence, but they are just a noisy, extreme, minority, right? Well… maybe not such a small minority after all.
  2. I would have expected a much bigger difference between the Democrats and the Republicans with the Democrats leading by at least a factor of two on every question. Aren’t Republicans the one who follow the process and the rules more so than the outcome?

That nearly one out of six Democrats and one out eight Republicans think violence is justified if the other party wins the presidency in 2020 I’m seriously hoping for a Libertarian win (yeah, right, only if the Democrats and Republicans kill each other off at some extremely drastic rate prior to the election) and planning on avoiding what probably will be “hot spots”.

With that high of percentage of violent people available to surround themselves with people are going to find the courage to “take action”. Regardless of who wins, the 2020 election could just be the spark that ignites CWII.—Joe]


8 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Kalmoe and Mason

  1. Just a question on stats, is it fair to combine the two percentages and come up with about 33% of the population is in favor of some sort of violence on a political question?

  2. I think that ‘threatening and intimidating’ is open to interpretation. It doesn’t specify if the threats were violent (I’d answer no) or more along the lines of ‘you are going to find ourself without a job next election’. And ‘unsafe’ is really broad term — some of these politicians seem to feel unsafe the second you wave a flag.

    So for me the answers would have to be maybe, maybe, no, no.

  3. I too have been thinking that the 2020 election is a critical event, but other events before the election could also go critical. Some posbilities include the RNC convention, ANTIFA’s antics (perhaps August 17), and mass shootings.

  4. Question #2 is setting up a false premise. Things that make people feel unsafe can be something as simple as the poster owning a firearm or liking something Trump said.

    The subjective level of “frightened” or “feels unsafe” when the lens through which the subject views the world doesn’t fully reflect reality gives a result which also does not reflect reality.

    • A teen in Texas wearing a MAGA hat makes a much bigger adult feel unsafe and/or threatened.
      Whose speech is violence and whose violence is protected speech again? Ben C is correct. There is so much subjectivity in that survey.

  5. The number of people supporting violent and intimidating behavior is increased by the anonymity afforded in the two surveys used. This is a well-known effect and should be kept in mind. Think of these poll results as the bluster of idiot drunks watching a football game in their living rooms, not the actual predicted behavior of individuals or even mobs in public.

    Then wonder why anonymity increases savagery, and be worried.

    • Even the limited anonymity of sitting in a car increases aggression in drivers.
      As to the percentage of conservative people surveyed who appear to want to initiate violence, were these perhaps Alt-Right? Leftists are regularly unable to distinguish between small government conservatives and Alt-right proponents.

  6. Thanks Mikee. That’s exactly it. And I think that’s the real split. Instead of Dem/Repub. It’s more along the lines of those that understand violence. And all the attendant problems CWII will bring. And those that have never gotten their ass kicked before. Interesting that this seems to be the fate of every empire.
    In the famous words of Riddick, “So, you say the whole universe is circling the drain? Well it couldn’t last forever.”

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