A study commissioned by the Boyce-based institute found that a majority of Mountain West residents believe that the government justifies violence when it insults its people.
At the same time, the vast majority of those surveyed believe that the United States is going the wrong way and are concerned about the health of American democracy.
The findings are part of a new study released this month by the Frank Church Institute at Boise State University.
In the report, 20 percent of those polled this fall in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Montana said they justify political violence until the government does not act in the public interest. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed believe that political violence is not justified in a democracy, while the rest are skeptical.
“It must have been a surprise to me,” Harry W. Wenske, executive director of the Frank Church Institute, said in a telephone interview. “I think it’s a reflection of a lot of other studies I’ve read about people who are as upset as they were at the Capitol on January 6,” he said. This is a concern for the future, as many respondents believe it is acceptable. “
According to a study, about 85 percent of adults in Mountain West are concerned about the health of US democracy. Fifty percent of those surveyed said they were “very worried,” while 35 percent said they were “somewhat worried.”
In depth, research has shown that 83% of adults are concerned about misinterpretation and misinformation.
“It is difficult to detect signs of optimism or hope in this large-scale new study from the Rocky Mountains. Fear, alienation and disbelief define the minds of these Americans,” said Peter Fenn, a political scientist and board member of the Frank Church Institute. mentioned.
“The worry-free barometer is so high that one of the world’s most successful democracies is prone to political extremism, misinformation, and malfunction,” Fenn wrote. “The good news is that people are waiting for elected officials to work together to fix the damage.”
Two-thirds of respondents, or 66 percent, said they wanted their elected officials to work together and reach a consensus to reach a solution. Nearly 30% said that limiting time or holding politicians accountable for unethical or illegal actions was the most likely to strengthen democracy.
Only 51 percent of those polled believe that President Joe Biden legally defeated former President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.
Other findings include:
• 80% of respondents find it difficult for Americans with different political views to communicate with each other.
• 71% of respondents in the Mountain West survey believe that the country is going in the wrong direction; In Idaho, 76 percent of respondents believe so.
• In a Mountain West survey, 47% of respondents said their country was on the wrong track.
62% of people said they were “very positive” or “somewhat positive” about the United States, even though they thought the country was going the wrong way.
• 35% have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” position on presidential governance.
• 61% trust “much” or “some” in local government.
• 59% of Americans living in rural areas do not have enough influence in national politics.
• 31% watch Fox News at least once a week, the highest of the 16 news sources surveyed.
What will researchers do with these conclusions?
Following the findings, Wenske said the Frank Church Institute plans to share the findings with some organizations around the Western Mountains, convene a conference and discuss the findings in more detail.
Morning Consult, a Washington-based think tank, surveyed 1,899 adults in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada between Sept. 24 and Oct. 26.
There was a plus or minus 2 percent error in the survey. Full survey results are available online.
Because the Frank Church Institute is asking these questions for the first time in collaboration with a research organization, Wenske said there was no baseline study to compare how the views of residents have changed over time. However, this study can be used as a basis for comparison with future studies
The Frank Church Institute is a non-partisan organization based at Boise State University. It is named after the late US Senator Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho. The institute was established in 1982 to promote civic participation and public awareness, and focuses on foreign policy. The institute sponsors the annual Frank Church conference, is the head of public relations at Frank and Betty Church, and provides grants to Boyce County.