A new poll of 1,500 American citizens found that 43% believe a civil war will erupt within the next decade, indicating growing concern about America’s political divide.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Economist and UK-based analytics firm YouGov, 55% of self-identified “strong” Republicans believe civil war is at least somewhat likely, while 40% of self-identified “strong” Democrats believe the same.
Meanwhile, 39% of those who identified as “not very strong Democrats,” 40% of those who identified as “Independents,” and 45% of those who identified as “not very strong Republicans” agreed.
YouGov stated that it based its survey participants on gender, age, race, and education on the US Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey.
In addition, the poll found that fewer Americans believed civil war would not occur in the next ten years than thought it would.
A third of those polled, 35%, believe such an internal conflict is unlikely or unlikely at all, while 22% are unsure.
Meanwhile, three out of every five people polled predicted that political violence and division in the United States would worsen in the coming years. Few saw the situation improving, with only 9% expecting political violence to decrease.
Concerns about a potential civil war have grown in recent years.
President Joe Biden met privately earlier this month with a group of top historians who warned him that the current state of affairs at home and abroad was comparable to the eras preceding the American Civil War and World War II.
In February, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger warned that current partisanship could lead to civil war. He made the remark shortly after the Republican National Committee censured him for investigating the Capitol riot.
“We’re now identifying by race, by ethnic group, we’re separating ourselves, and we live in different realities,” he explained. “And I think we have to warn and talk about it so that we can recognize that and fight hard against it and put our country over our parties, because our survival actually matters.”
Barbara F. Walter, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego, told the Washington Post in March that the country was at risk of an insurgency — a modern type of civil war that is often fought by multiple groups using domestic terror tactics and guerilla warfare.
According to the outlet, she stated that the Capitol riot helped the public understand how destructive an insurgency can be.
“People who study this, we’ve been seeing these groups for over ten years,” Walter told the Post. “They’ve been expanding. I know they’re practicing. They’ve been lurking in the shadows, but we’re aware of their existence.”
The survey of 1,500 US adults also discovered that two-thirds of Americans—66%—believe political divisions have worsened since the beginning of 2021. In comparison, only 8% said the country has become less divided.
Most respondents also predicted more political violence in the coming years, with Republicans more likely to believe this than Democrats.
Following the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8, NBC News reported a spike in online mentions of civil war among far-right extremists and supporters.
“In these right-wing and extremist spaces, they interpret the Mar-a-Lago search as the first shots fired by the federal government, not as a legitimate legal process,” Alex Friedfield, a researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told Insider’s Laura Italiano.