Almost as many Republican primary voters blame counterprotesters for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia as blame the neo-Nazis who were protesting, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday showed that among all adults, 63% blamed white supremacists, compared to just 16% who blamed counterprotesters for the violence.
But among Republicans, 38% blamed white supremacists, compared to 30% who blamed counterprotesters, and 32% who said they didn’t know.
The number stood in stark contrast to the number of Democrats and self-described independents who said counterprotesters were to blame.
Among Democrats, 88% of respondents blamed neo-Nazis, 4% blamed counterprotesters, and 8% said they didn’t know. Among independents, 60% blamed white supremacists, compared to 15% who blamed counterprotesters and 25% who said they didn’t know.
Quinnipiac’s telephone poll surveyed 1,514 self-identified registered voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%, though the number may be slightly higher for subgroups.
The poll came after a week of backlash to President Donald Trump’s comments blaming “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. The president found support for the argument in many conservative and right-wing media outlets, as commentators on networks like Fox News and some reporters at online outlets including Breitbart News have blamed counterprotesters for much of the violence.
Trump’s approval rating has dropped following his various statements on the subject, as some polls showed the majority of Americans disapproved of his handling of Charlottesville.
The Quinnipiac poll also came at a moment when many pollsters have begun surveying Americans’ opinions about radical politics, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism.
According to an ABC/Washington Post poll, 9 per cent of people said it was acceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views, and another 10 per cent, said they support the “alt-right.”
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