Public Opinion

Most Americans Think Government Is Corrupt, a Third Say Armed Revolution 'May Be Necessary' Soon

Plus: Hawley's illiberal nationalism, Santa Monica's housing obstructionism, and more...


Another sign of growing discontent in America? A new poll from the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics finds a majority of Americans think the government is corrupt and stacked against them.

To probably no one's surprise, 73 percent of poll respondents who identify as "strong Republican" respondents agreed with the statement that the government is "corrupt and rigged against everyday people like me." But Republicans are far from alone in this sentiment. Fifty-one percent of "very liberal" voters agreed with the same statement.

Overall, 56 percent of survey respondents said that the government is corrupt. This included 66 percent of all Republican respondents, 63 percent of independents, and 46 percent of Democrats.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters found that a significant number of people expect that extreme measures may be necessary to protect against government overreach. 28 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "it may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government." Thirty-six percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents, and 20 percent of Democrats agreed. 

While some have portrayed this as a sign of increasing polarization or extremism, I think it's the kind of poll question that makes for dramatic results but doesn't really tell us much. Agreeing that armed revolution "may" (or may not!) be necessary at some unspecified point in the future doesn't mean you think it's terribly likely to be necessary.

One interesting finding is that people across the board believed that their political opponents might agree with them if they were better informed. Asked about "people who you disagree with on political issues," half said that "the root of the problem" is that these people "are misinformed because of where they get their information." Fifty-one percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 37 percent of independents believed this.

And despite being a poll about political polarization, the survey actually found a number of areas of agreement.

Asked if "immigration is good for the country," only 34 percent of Republicans agreed, while 57 percent of independents and 73 percent of Democrats did. But asked if "legal immigration is good for the country," these numbers were boosted to 70 percent, 72 percent, and 82 percent, respectively.

Most respondents, regardless of political affiliation, were also in agreement that "it should be illegal for private companies such as Verizon, Google and Facebook to collect information about people's phone and internet usage."

The poll was conducted at the end of May. You can find the full results here.


Josh Hawley's illiberal nationalism. Aaron Ross Powell dissects the authoritarian worldview of Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.). Hawley rejects "the principles of individual freedom and autonomy that are at the core of the American experiment," Powell writes. "And it's not because he's a shallow reality TV host or a politician. He's thought deeply about liberty—and he doesn't like it," writes Powell. "Since entering the Senate, Hawley's political project has been to harness Trumpism's infatuation with an imagined 'real America' into the service of a more intellectual and effective authoritarian movement."


Santa Monica might make building new affordable housing in the city impossible:


• An off-duty corrections officer killed a New York teenager holding a water gun.

• Some states with legal abortion are already being flooded with patients from states where abortion is illegal, reports The New York Times. "Of all the states, New Mexico has been most affected by interstate abortion travel in making appointments, according to a nationwide survey of clinics by a research team led by Caitlin Myers, a professor of economics at Middlebury College."

• A new "post-fascist" party in Italy is gaining steam.

• Happy World IVF Day!

• You can't stop pirate libraries.

• More on the Kansas ballot battle over abortion.

Reason's Stephanie Slade explains the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, "a running list of books deemed heretical, blasphemous, or otherwise morally dangerous by the Roman Catholic Church."

• Inside the Middle East's metal counterculture.

• "A destructive wildfire near Yosemite National Park burned out of control through tinder-dry forest on Sunday and had grown into one of California's biggest blazes of the year, forcing thousands of residents to flee remote mountain communities," CBS reports.

• Before the late 20th century, "journals focused on quickly disseminating letters and communications between scientists, with little to no editing or external reviewing," writes Saloni Dattani in a Works in Progress piece on the promise and problems of peer review.