Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Only 36% Have Ever Felt the Urge to Protest

Most Americans believe in the right to protest, but a surprisingly small share of the public has ever wanted to do so. According to a 2018 Gallup survey, just 36 percent of adults have "ever felt the urge to organize or join a public demonstration."

Seventy-nine percent of the public thinks the people's right to nonviolent protest is very important to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. Most believe in the importance of nonviolent protest regardless of political persuasion, with 88 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans calling it very important. But only 21 percent of Republicans had ever felt the urge to protest, reports Gallup. Among Democrats, the figure was 51 percent.

The urge to protest has become more widespread over the past half century. When Gallup asked the question in 1965, only 10 percent of Americans said they had ever felt like organizing or joining a protest. Perhaps the growing polarization of our society is behind the rise. If Gallup were to ask Americans in 2020 whether they have ever felt like protesting, it's likely well more than 36 percent would say yes.

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