News & Politics

Poll: Four out of Five Voters Worry about Political Violence, Bullying and Freedom

Jennifer Sterling, one of the organizers of the pro-Donald Trump rally reacts after getting hit with pepper spray in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Violence erupted when a march of about 2,000 Trump supporters at Bolsa Chica State Beach reached a group of about 30 counter-protesters, some of whom began spraying pepper spray, said Capt. Kevin Pearsall of the California State Parks Police. (Mindy Schauer/The Orange County Register via AP)

A new poll released yesterday reveals that four out of five (79%) likely voters say they are “concerned that the American traditions of freedom and individual rights are being threatened by growing social movements, public bullying and increasing political violence.”

Voters who report they supported Trump in the 2016 election are more likely (85%) to say they are concerned about political bullying and violence but a substantial number (76%) of non-Trump supporters are also worried. It’s likely each one of these groups views the other as the source of their unease but the spread between the two groups is worth noting. The chasm between voters on the right and left is growing wider and deeper.

There is a strong feeling among those who are supporters of President Trump and those who do not share the Democrat/progressive world view of a danger and a cost to expressing their political opinions. Remember when Obama supporters proudly wore the Obama “HOPE” t-shirt following the 2008 election? Did you see any reports of people getting bothered for making their political statement?

Just this week, artist Kanye West was publicly admonished for voluntarily showing support for President Trump. West specifically referenced this kind of political bullying when he stated that the “mob can’t make me not love him” referring to the President. Critics of Kanye suspected he was mentally ill because he chose to offer, really, a rather tepid sign of support to Trump. West even qualified his non-hateful Trump statement by adding “I don’t agree with everything he does” and still that was not enough to insulate him from attack. But Kanye West is a rich and famous celebrity, what do the attacks against him say to the regular John Q. Citizen?

Voters have also seen the corporate class threatened with repercussions as part of the #boycottNRA effort run by the institutional left and fronted by spokeschild David Hogg.  There’s a long list of companies who caved to this pressure, cutting whatever ties they have with the firearms industry. But the firearm industry is a legal industry and these corporations were engaged in, presumably, a profitable relationship based on free association. None had direct or even indirect involvement with illegal gun violence, and yet, they folded quickly like a cheap suit.

Wells Fargo was a lone voice among a multitude of cowards. The bank was threatened by the left-learning American Federation of Teachers. “We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a Saturday statement. “They can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers. They can’t do both.”

The bank responded: “When dealing with the safety of our families, children, and other issues of this magnitude, there are no easy or satisfying solutions. In fact, as I have publicly stated, I do not believe that the American public wants banks to decide which legal products consumers can and cannot buy.” Seems like a reasonable decision for a corporation to make.

And then there is the political violence. A maniac killed 58 country music fans people who fit the profile of a Trump supporter and wounded over 800 followed by the entire massacre wiped out of public consciousness. Whatever happened with that investigation, does anyone know? Poof, it’s gone. There are countless examples on college campuses of political opinions met with violence, professors threatened by out-of-control spoiled student-brats, visiting lecturers threatened with violence in the hopes the speakers will cancel in fear.  Political parades threatened with violence. These are just a few stories that follow the tales from the Presidential campaign season: ambulances blocked by protestors at a Trump rally, images of bloodied Trump supporters at rallies around the internet, Trump rallies shut down out of fear of violence.

Voters see these things and where do they turn? Not to their political representation. Only 39% agree that “My elected officials in Washington share my level of concern for the threats to my freedom.” Here too we see a difference between Trump voters and non-Trump voters, with non-Trump voters more likely than Trump voters to say their elected officials ignore their concerns here. This is not particularly unusual if you understand that to the non-Trump voter, the fact of Trump’s presidency eo ipso is the threat, where as for the Trump voter, the threat originates from the political industry, the weaponized government bureaucracy, the institutional left, the media, and the educational system.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates for the Ear to the Ground Listening Project.