In a new poll, a quarter of Americans said it’s sometimes OK to use violence against the government and 1 in 10 said that violence is justified “right now.”

The poll conducted by The COVID States Project asked 23,000 people across the country whether it is “ever justifiable to engage in violent protest against the government?”

Nearly 1 in 4 said the violence was either “definitely” or “probably” justified, according to NPR.

That’s not surprising because of the way American history is taught, said David Lazer, COVID States Project co-director.

  • “We begin with the American Revolution against an illegitimate government and so we are, in a sense, taught from grade school that it is at some points in history justifiable to engage in violent protest,” he said.
  • “Before the election in 2020, we were looking at both beliefs around the anticipated legitimacy of the election, as well as things like vote modality — because obviously how people voted was determined in part by COVID,” he said. “We see it all in part as a package with what has happened over the last two years to American society.”
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Other polls say the same

A poll from last month conducted by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland indicated something similar — 1 in 3 Americans said that violence against the government was justified sometimes, a significant increase from previous years, according to The Hill.

In another CBS News and YouGov poll, 62% of Americans said they expect violence over losing future presidential elections and a quarter said “force might be justified,” depending on the situation.