Press Release

Three-Quarters of Americans Are Concerned About Violent Domestic Extremism

Survey reveals two-thirds support more action from government and social media companies

New York, January 12, 2021 … Following the seditious riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Americans are highly concerned about violent extremism, according to a survey taken after the events released today by ADL (Anti-Defamation League) that evaluated perceptions of the threats facing the country.

“Most Americans now see the direct connection between the dangerous rhetoric from President Trump, others on the far right, and extremist groups to the horrifying violence at our nation’s Capitol,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “At ADL, we have been monitoring the concerning rise of extremism and the way national leaders, including President Trump, have enabled and empowered this hate to spread, especially online. The events of this week were the latest example of why it’s essential that policymakers and social media companies take concrete action to prevent future violence.”

Approximately two-thirds of Americans believe Donald Trump (67 percent) and members of white supremacist, far-right or militia groups (64 percent) are at least somewhat responsible for the violence at the Capitol. Roughly three-quarters of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about violence in the next year from anti-government and militia movement members (77 percent) and white supremacists (75 percent).

Over half of Americans also believe that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter (61 percent) and Congressional Republicans who said they would oppose certification of election results (55 percent) are at least somewhat responsible for the violence on Wednesday. 

Unequivocally, Americans want the government to do more to address violent domestic extremism. Sixty-five percent want the government to do more to address the rise of far-right extremism.

“Violent domestic extremism is a global threat that will outlast President Trump’s time in office and so the incoming Congress and Biden-Harris Administration must work together proactively, deliberately and swiftly dismantle this domestic terror threat.” said Greenblatt. “Additionally, we applaud mainstream social media companies for removing President Trump from their platforms, but there is more work to be done to stop the widespread hate and extremism.”

The survey also found that 66 percent of Americans believe that the government should prosecute individuals who stormed the Capitol, while 20 percent oppose prosecuting those responsible, and 13 percent do not know.

Americans also support social media companies taking action, with 63 percent agreeing that social media companies should ban posts and individuals encouraging or celebrating extremism and conspiracy theories.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Americans believe that antifa is significantly responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and 64 percent are at least somewhat concerned about violence associated with antifa. While ADL has expressed concerns about violent encounters between antifa and the far right previously, there is no evidence to support this claim.

The survey of U.S. adults was conducted from Jan. 7 to Jan. 8, 2021 by YouGov, a leading public opinion and data analytics firm, on behalf of ADL. There were 1,176 respondents, 1,102 of whom were aware of the incident in the capitol. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults aged 18 or over. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.95 percentage points.