A man calls on people to raid the building during the US Capitol attack on 6 January 2021. 
Credit: Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty 

Nearly one in four Americans believe that political violence may be justified to “save” the country, a national opinion poll has found.

The 14th annual American Values Survey, carried out by the non-profit Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in partnership with the Brookings Institution thinktank, offers a snapshot of America’s deepening polarisation and willingness to contemplate taking up arms.

Even as Joe Biden has sought to lower the temperature, support for political violence has increased over the past two years, the survey shows. Today about 23% of Americans agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country” – up from 15% in 2021.

The PRRI has asked this question in eight separate surveys since March 2021 but this is the first time that support for political violence has risen above 20% in the general population.

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