Poll Finds Majority of Americans Worried About Another Civil War

October 2, 2020 by Dan McCue
Members of the Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, second from left, gesture and cheer on stage as they and other right-wing demonstrators rally in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Sixty-one percent of Americans are worried that the U.S. could be on the verge of another Civil War, while 52% say they’ve already started stockpiling food and other essential in anticipation of social unrest, according to a new national poll.

Among the 61% of Americans who fear the U.S. could be on the verge of another Civil War, 40% said they strongly agree with that statement, while 21% said they somewhat agree.

Sixteen percent said they somewhat disagree that another Civil War could be in the offing, while 23% strongly disgree.

“This is the single most frightening poll result I’ve ever been associated with,” said Rich Thau, president of Engagious, one of the three firms—along with the Sports and Leisure Research Group and ROKK Solutions—that conducted the survey.

The poll found heightened concern over Civil War is most acute at the political extremes with 52% very liberal, 52% very conservative, 32% somewhat liberal, 34% moderate and 35% somewhat conservative who believe this statement.

“This latest finding, while not anticipated, is yet another example of an extremely bifurcated population, ” said Jon Last, president of the Sports and Leisure Research Group, and a former national president of the Insights Association and Marketing Research Institute International.

“Throughout the past seven months, our research has seen strong fragmentation in the public’s level of concerns ranging from public health to the economy to issues of social and political unrest,” he said.

While 52% plan to stockpile, or have already stockpiled, food and other essential goods in anticipation of health or social uncertainty, 48% have not done so.

Additionally, among those who plan to or have stockpiled, 58% did so because they are anticipating a resurgence of COVID-19 in the coming months; 23% did so in anticipation of political unrest tied to the election and 19% did so over social unrest tied to racial concerns.

Those who plan to stockpile, or have already stockpiled, food or other essential goods are dominated by those who lie at the political extremes.

Sixty-five percent of those who identify as very liberal and 57% who are very conservative plan to do so. This compares to 46% who are somewhat liberal, 45% who are somewhat conservative and 49% who are moderate.

“We have been conducting surveys of consumers and employees since the beginning of April in order to help industries make strategic decisions in the month ahead,” said Ron Bonjean, partner at ROKK Solutions.

“The current data shows an alarming trend that that extreme political polarization of our country has a majority of Americans concerned that our country could be a powder keg ready to explode into a Civil War,” he said.

The margin of error on the September 23, 2020 online survey of 491 Americans is +/-4.42% at the 95% confidence interval.

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