The supporters of former President Donald Trump have been gaining attention since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The violence of the insurrectionists got the attention of researchers at the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats. These experts then tracked insurrectionist sentiments among U.S. adults, and their most recent project was a set of surveys conducted in June.
One of such surveys conducted in June found that about 1 in 5 American adults – nearly 47 million – believe that “the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president,” the Conversation reported.
Tracking the insurrectionists
Of these 47 million Trump supporters, 21 million think that the “use of force is justified to restore Trump to the presidency.” They seem to be a ragtag group with the capacity for violence.
The survey also revealed that of these 21 million, at least 7 million already own a gun, at least 3 million have lethal skills gained from time served in the U.S. military, 6 million support right-wing militias and extremist groups, and 1 million admit to being or personally knowing a member of such extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.
Though the number of people who actually hold extremist views actually get into violence, the findings from the said survey provided insights on how many Americans could possibly turn them toward insurrection.
Researching the data on Trump supporters
The data came from a commissioned survey conducted by the independent, non-partisan researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago. They employed the highest standard polling methods in the industry by taking random samples from a representative sample. The same process was employed by NORC when polling for The Associated Press, the federal government, and other major institutions.
For this study, NORC pulled together a panel of 40,000 people, whom they called AmeriSpeak. These group is representative of the entire U.S. population based on dozens of characteristics, including as age, race, income, location of residence and religion. From the representative group, NORC drew random samples asking 1,070 people to respond to the questions.
The survey had a margin of error at plus or minus 4 percentage points so when calculating the number of the 258 million adult Americans the 4% to 12% range returned a median of approximately 21 million Trump supporters in support of violent insurrection to get him back in the president’s office and preserve America’s traditional way of life.
Robert Pape: ‘This is more mainstream’
According to Professor Robert Pape of the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago, the study proved that the Jan. 6 insurrection is “representative of a far more mainstream movement when comoared with previous extremist movements in the U.S.”
In an opinion piece published on The Conversation, Pape warned that though it is unclear whether the insurrectionists will take action, the sentiments could very easily turn into a “violent reality.”
“On Jan. 6, it took clear direction from Donald Trump and other political leaders to turn these dangerous sentiments into a violent reality. But the movement itself is larger and more complex than many people might like to think,” he wrote.