New poll claims ‘patriots’ believe ‘violence’ needed to save country, but can ‘American Values’ survey be trusted?

The Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI) has released its “14th Annual American Values survey,” and according to them, “nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) agree that ‘because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,’ up from 15% in 2021.”

“This is the first time support for political violence has peaked above 20%,” PPRI ominously reports.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the Brookings Institution, found that “more than three-fourths of Americans (77%) believe that the country is going in the wrong direction, compared with only 22% who believe the country is going in the right direction.”

“The vast majority of Republicans (90%) and independents (81%) say the country is going in the wrong direction, compared with 59% of Democrats,”  it revealed.

Being an institute that researches religion, PPRI noted, “Most Americans, regardless of religious tradition, see the country as going in the wrong direction: 92% of white evangelical Protestants, 82% of white mainline/non-evangelical Protestants, 79% of white Catholics, 75% of religiously unaffiliated Americans, and two-thirds of Black Protestants (68%), non-Christian religious Americans (66%), and Hispanic Catholics (64%).”

“There are no significant differences with respect to views on the direction of the country by gender, race, generation, education, region, or whether respondents live in rural, suburban, and urban areas,” the non-profit added.

So far, so good, right?

Well… maybe not so much.

Dig a little deeper and you might be tempted to think the entire purpose of the poll is to paint conservative, Christian, Trump-supporting “America First” voters as a group of unhinged, QAnon-inspired radicals.

And you may just conclude that PPRI is nothing more than a propaganda-spreading mouthpiece for the current administration.

PPRI reports:

Nearly nine in ten Americans who most trust far-right news (89%), seven in ten Americans who most trust Fox news (71%), and nearly six in ten Americans who do not watch TV news (58%) believe American culture and way of life have mostly changed for the worse. Under half of Americans who most trust mainstream news (45%) believe the same.

Majorities of white Christians — including white evangelical Protestants (77%), white mainline/non-evangelical Protestants (60%), and white Catholics (57%) — believe American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the worse. Hispanic Catholics, Black Protestants, and non-Christian religious Americans are more divided. By contrast, religiously unaffiliated Americans are less likely to say American culture and way of life has changed for the worse (43%) than for the better (57%).

“More than seven in ten Americans who trust far-right news (71%) and about six in ten Fox News viewers (60%) and those who do not watch TV news (55%) believe the best days are behind us,” the poll found. “Americans who trust mainstream news are divided (47% agree, 50% disagree).”

Republicans, it claims, are rule-breakers, especially those who watch Fox News: “About half of Republicans (48%) agree with the need for a leader who is willing to break some rules, compared with four in ten independents (38%) and three in ten Democrats (29%). Majorities of Americans who most trust Fox News (53%) or far-right outlets (52%) agree that we need a leader who breaks the rules, compared with smaller shares of those who do not trust TV news (40%), or who most trust mainstream news (32%).”

And if they support former President Donald Trump, well, fugetaboutit: “Republicans with favorable views of former President Donald Trump are notably more likely than those with unfavorable views of Trump to agree with the need for a leader who is willing to break some rules (54% vs. 32%).”

These findings, by the way, are grouped under the heading, “Support for Authoritarianism as a Response to the Direction of the Country.”

Trump-supporting election deniers are the most violent-prone Americans, PPRI states.

“Republicans who have favorable views of Trump (41%) are nearly three times as likely as Republicans who have unfavorable views of Trump (16%) to agree that true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save the country,” it reports. “Americans who believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump are more than three times as likely as those who do not believe that the election was stolen from Trump — 46% to 13%, respectively — to agree that true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save the country.”

And Protestants apparently have a QAnon conspiracy problem.

“White evangelical Protestants (30%) are the most likely to be QAnon believers, followed by around one-quarter of Black Protestants (26%) and Hispanic Catholics (24%). However, since 2021, white evangelical Protestants (20%), Black Protestants (16%), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (9%) have seen the largest increases in QAnon beliefs.”

(Video: YouTube)

At this point, the only responsible question to ask is, “Who is PPRI?”

According to Influence Watch, the non-profit “receives much of its revenue in the form of grants from left-of-center organizations including the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the James Irvine Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.”

The organization’s president and founder, Robert P. Jones, has a bit of an obsession with white supremacists. He’s authored two books on the subject, “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity” and “The End of White Christian America.”

“PRRI published a report in February 2023 that claims the ‘rising influence of Christian Nationalism’ in politics ‘poses a major threat’ to American democracy, adding that a ‘culture war’ is being created by ‘a right animated by a Christian nationalist worldview,’ opposing those who ’embrace’ religious and racial diversity,” Influence Watch reports.

As for its commitment to research, “PRRI notes that its public opinion research is based on ‘probability sampling,’ and interviews are conducted by professional interviewers, mostly over phone calls.”

The grants PPRI has received read like a who’s who of the woke agenda.

“The Carnegie Corporation of New York granted PRRI $400,000 in 2014, $550,000 in 2016, $550,000 in 2018, $600,000 in 2020, and $700,000 in 2022,” according to Influence Watch. “Most of the grants were to support PRRI projects relating to immigration.”

Influence Watch continues:

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a private foundation that provides grants to left-of-center activist groups, with a focus on supporting liberal expansionist immigration policy, LGBT interests, education, and organizations in the San Francisco Bay area. The foundation granted PRRI $145,000 in 2011, $100,000 in 2012, $50,000 in 2014, $160,500 in 2016, a $150,000 grant each year for 2017, 2018, and 2019, and a grant of $300,000 in 2020. All grants made to PRRI were labeled under the foundation’s “LGBT Equality” program area.

The Henry Luce Foundation is a left-of-center foundation that provides grants to organizations that focus on higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy. The foundation granted PRRI $30,000 in 2010, $450,000 in 2014, $550,000 in 2017, $250,000 in 2020, and $1 million in 2021. 

PRRI used the $1 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to create the Religion and Renewing Democracy Initiative, which would expand the PRRI Public Fellows program, and support new scholars “working in the areas of racial justice and migration.”

The Arcus Foundation is a left-leaning grantmaking foundation associated with billionaire medical device heir Jon Stryker which, since its founding in 2000, has focused on promoting ethnic minority and LGBT interests and conserving great ape populations. In 2019, it prioritized all of its left-leaning social justice initiatives to focus on issues related to the LGBT movement. The foundation granted PRRI a grant of $75,000 in 2015, a grant of $150,000 each year from 2016 until 2019, $300,000 in 2020, and another $300,000 in 2022. 

The James Irvine Foundation is a California nonprofit donor organization with a history of donations to left-of-center labor union activist organizations. The foundation granted PRRI $40,000 in 2014, $500,000 in 2017, and $360,000 in 2019.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a left-of-center grantmaking foundation created by David Packard, cofounder of Hewlett-Packard, in 1964. The foundation granted PRRI $300,000 in 2022 to “support the American Values Atlas (AVA) and communications outreach.” 

And this, clearly, is the problem with polls.

Already, media outlets are regurgitating PPRI’s findings.

The Daily Mail. The Hill, Axios, NPR, and Time Magazine are among the many who ran with the story.

MSNBC’s headline screamed, “A new poll has chilling findings about political violence and 2024.”

“Unsurprisingly, Trump supporters, especially white evangelicals, are in the vanguard of this movement,” the outlet stated.

In unrelated news, here is a throwback clip of Nancy Pelosi explaining how a “wrap-up smear” works.

The more you know…

(Video: YouTube)


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