About one-quarter of Americans are “open” to the idea of their state seceding from the United States, amid intense frustration with Washington and the federal government.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday, 24% of Americans — including 26% of men and 22% of women — are keen on the idea of their state seceding from the US. The poll was conducted amid intense interest around the globe in Scotland’s independence referendum, in which Scots voted by a margin of 55-45 to remain part of the United Kingdom.
Scotland’s referendum has emboldened both fledgling and sophisticated separatist movements in Europe and even the US. In the US, according to the poll, more Republicans and people living in the South and West of the country are open to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners.
More than one in three Americans living in the southwest of the country said they supported the idea of their state “peacefully withdrawing” from the US:
Some respondents told Reuters they were either frustrated with the Obama administration or with Washington’s paralysis as a whole, which led to their support.
“Texas has everything we need. We have the manufacturing, we have the oil, and we don’t need them,” Mark Denny, a 59-year-old retiree living outside Dallas on disability payments, told Reuters.
Added Roy Gustafson of South Carolina: “I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done.”
Reuters columnist James Gaines wrote that the poll should be “more than disconcerting.” As he pointed out, the equivalent of more than 60 million Americans loosely supporting secession is nothing to be taken lightly.
“The United States hardly seems to be on the verge of fracture, and the small secession movements in a handful of American states today represent a tiny percentage of those polled by Reuters,” Gaines wrote. “But any country where 60 million people declare themselves to be sincerely aggrieved — especially one that is fractious by nature — is a country inviting either the sophistry of a demagogue or a serious movement for reform.”
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