Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans Believe Key Tenets of the ‘Great Replacement’ Conspiracy Theory
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), today, released the results of a national poll which further demonstrates the extensive mainstreaming of extremist beliefs and narratives across the country. The poll of 1,500 individuals, conducted by Tulchin Research, measures the extent to which these views that mobilize the hard right have been absorbed by the wider American public, including the ideas underpinning the white nationalist “great replacement” narrative recently cited by an alleged white supremacist terrorist in Buffalo, New York.
“The insights revealed in this poll are a clear warning that our democracy is in danger. The polling also substantiates what we have seen through our monitoring: Hate and extremism have gone mainstream, and they are threatening our communities, our education system and democracy itself,” said Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “Just in the past week, we have again seen firsthand the deadly impact of white nationalist propaganda being mainstreamed. What is even more disturbing is that we see an embrace of violence – particularly on the right – as a political tactic that is buttressed by a belief that we could be heading toward a civil war in the near future.”
Among the poll’s findings:
A large majority of Republicans (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.” Thirty five percent of Democrats agree.
A majority of Americans agree that transgender discrimination is a problem that needs to be addressed (52%). However, our survey results also make it clear that the fearmongering rhetoric of the hard right has impacted the opinions of many Americans and, especially, those on the right. 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.
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. More than half of Republicans say the country seems headed toward a civil war, compared to 39% of Democrats.
Most people do not approve of political violence, but a substantial minority do. When we asked whether people approved of threatening a politician who is “harming the country or our democracy,” 24% approved. When we asked if people approved of assassinating a politician described in the same way, one in five approved.
The SPLC’s full analysis is available here.