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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Authoritarian Opinion?

number of posts have discussed support for authoritarianism and political violence in the United States.

A recent poll suggested Americans support checks and balances, but for the other party.

Aaron Blake at WP:

While 39 percent of Democrats said working around Congress and the courts was a good thing if the president were named Biden, 57 percent of Republicans said it would be a good thing if the president were named Trump.

While an isolated poll, the results are very much in line with other surveys on the subject, including, from recent weeks:
  • A Reuters-Ipsos poll last month, which showed that 52 percent of Republicans agreed that the country needs “a strong president who should be allowed to rule without too much interference from courts and Congress.” Just 29 percent of Democrats agreed with that statement.
  • A February poll from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which found that 74 percent of Republicans would support Trump being a “dictator for a day,” an idea he once broached.
  • An NPR-PBS-Marist College poll last week, which asked whether people agreed that things are so bad that “we need a leader who is willing to break some rules to set things right.” Republicans (56 percent) were twice as likely to agree with that statement as Democrats (28 percent). While Republicans agreed with the statement by a 13-point margin, Democrats disagreed by a 44-point margin.
  • A December Fox News poll, which went a step further, asking whether we need a president who will break some “rules and laws” — basically taking illegal action. Trump 2020 voters (30 percent) were twice as likely to support that as Biden 2020 voters (15 percent).
It’s important not to oversell these data.

The percentage of Republicans who appear to be truly pining for a strongman is significantly shy of a majority. For instance, in the NPR-PBS Marist College poll, just 23 percent “strongly” agreed that we need someone willing to break the rules. Similarly, Republicans who want a president who is willing to break the law were still outnumbered about 2-to-1.
But those are also significant numbers of Republicans — often the noisiest ones. And what we also see in these data is a distinct lack of countervailing concern about an all-powerful executive.