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U.S. Polls: Public Opinion and Right‐Wing Extremism

U.S. Polls: Public Opinion and Right‐Wing Extremism


This research explored whether trends in right-wing political violence in the United States are related
to trends in national polling data for issues linked to right-wing grievances. Repeated poll items related
to right-wing extremism were identified in the American National Election Survey and the General
Social Survey from 1970-2006. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) was used to identify incidents
of domestic right-wing terrorism over this same time period. The poll items were examined in relation
to (1) changes surrounding the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest right-wing incident in the
U.S. to date, and (2) relationships over time with the prevalence of right-wing incidents in the GTD.
Results suggest that polling trends—particularly trends in items tapping feelings that (1) government
is out or control, (2) government is doing too much for minorities, and (3) financial circumstances
have worsened —may provide new insight into trends in right-wing violence in the United States. Limitations
of the study are discussed.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Eidelson, Roy, and Clark McCauley. 2010. "U.S. Polls: Public Opinion and Right‐Wing Extremism." April: https://www.start.umd.edu/sites/default/files/publications/local_attachments/Surveys%20-%20Right-Wing%20Extremism%20Final%20Report.pdf

START Author(s): 
Clark McCauley
Publication URL: 
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