I. Who is More likely to Use Violent Rhetoric?
Americans are significantly more likely to say Republicans more often use violent rhetoric than Democrats (35% to 23% respectively). About 1-in-4 say both political parties use violent images and rhetoric when making political arguments.
There are significant differences by political affiliation. More than 6-in-10 (62%) Democrats report that Republicans more often use violent rhetoric during political debates, while Republicans are more likely to say Democrats (45%) more often use violent images or language in political arguments. Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to refuse to provide an answer (12% to 6%).
The views of political independents closely mirror the general population. Political independents are more likely to say Republicans more often use violent rhetoric than Democrats (31% to 23%). However, nearly 1-in-4 (24%) report that both political parties engage in violent rhetoric during political debates.
There are also significant partisan divides in the religious community. White Evangelical Protestants are the only religious group who say Democrats more often use violent rhetoric than Republicans (35% vs. 17% respectively). White Mainline Protestants point the finger evenly at both parties, while white Catholics, minority Christians, and those unaffiliated are more likely to point at Republicans.
Americans are closely divided over whether liberals or conservatives more often use violent rhetoric during political debates, but are more likely to say liberals (33%) use violent language more often than conservatives (27%). Nearly 1-in-5 (19%) Americans say both groups do, and about 1-in-10 (9%) say neither group uses violent language or images to make their arguments.
The gap between liberals and conservatives is primarily accounted for by the fact that conservatives significantly outnumber liberals in the American population (33% vs. 21%). Half of conservatives say liberals use violent rhetoric more often, and 42% of liberals say conservatives use violent rhetoric more often.
Political moderates are divided on this question, with one-third (33%) saying conservatives more often use violent rhetoric and 3-in-10 (30%) saying liberals do.
II. Who is Most Opposed to Your Values?
When asked which group is most opposed to their values and issues they care about, nearly equal numbers say liberals (24%), Democrats (24%) and Republicans (23%). Only 14% say conservatives are the group most opposed to their values. Self-identified conservatives see their opponents more through an ideological than a partisan lens; they are more likely to identify liberals (42%) than Democrats (32%) as the group most opposed to their values. In contrast, self-identified liberals are nearly equally as likely to identify Republicans (28%) as conservatives (31%) as most opposed to their values.
Jones, Robert P., and Daniel Cox. “Republicans More Likely to Be Blamed for Violent Rhetoric.” PRRI. 2011. http://www.prri.org/research/republicans-more-likely-to-be-blamed-by-general-public-for-violent-rhetoric/.