Majorities of Republicans and Democrats Expect 'Increase in Violence' Due to Election This Year

Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats expect an "increase in violence" connected to the general election this year, a new poll suggests.

The survey carried out by YouGov for Braver Angels reported that more than 53 percent of Democrats and more than 59 percent of Republicans "agree or strongly agree" that there will be an increase in violence as a result of the November 3 election. A majority (57 percent) of independent voters also expect violence.

Overall, the poll found that nearly 56 percent of Americans expect an uptick in violence related to the election. The survey was carried out from October 1 to 2 and polled more than 1,500 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

YouGov also carried out a survey, again for Braver Angels, regarding whether Americans would see the presidential election winner as legitimate. Americans were split about evenly, with around half saying people "will generally agree on who is the legitimately elected President of the United States," and around half saying people would not agree.

Protesters clash
Supporters of President Donald Trump (L) clash with anti-Trump protesters during a rally against his policies in Santa Monica, California on October 19, 2019 MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty

Democrats were slightly more likely than Republicans to believe Americans would agree on the newly-elected president's legitimacy after the election, the poll found. While 54 percent of Democrats said people would accept the results, only 50 percent of Republicans said the same. Just 44 percent of independents believed that Americans would generally accept the winner's legitimacy.

Concerns have mounted surrounding a peaceful transition of power after President Donald Trump, who is down in all recent national polls as well as in key swing states, refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power last month.

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," he said on September 23 when he was asked whether he would commit to a peaceful transition. Trump then attacked mail-in ballots and insisted there wouldn't be a transition. "There'll be a continuation," the president asserted.

A bipartisan group, dubbed the Transition Integrity Project, met online in summer to hash out various scenarios that could take place following November 3. In all of their scenarios, they predicted there would be violence.

"Our scenario exercises did not end in good places, but important to note that this does not mean that there is something inevitable about chaos and constitutional crisis in the coming months—just that these particular exercises suggest that these are real possibilities," Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University and a former Defense Department official who helped organize the project, told Newsweek in July.

Recent polls have suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will win the upcoming election. The current averages of national polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics both show the former vice president leading Trump by about 9 percentage points. The averages from Real Clear Politics out of key battlegrounds—including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—all also suggest Biden is favored to win.