22 million Americans support neo-Nazis, new poll indicates

Survey was conducted in the wake of deadly violence which ravaged Charlottesville

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 22 August 2017 16:53 BST
The survey involved speaking to 1,014 adults across the United States
The survey involved speaking to 1,014 adults across the United States

Nine per cent of Americans say holding neo-Nazi or white supremacist views is acceptable, according to a new poll.

The Washington Post ABC poll was carried out in the wake of the deadly racially-charged violence which erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month. If extrapolated to the entire US population, nine per cent would equate to 22 million people.

According to the survey, 83 per cent of Americans think holding neo-Nazi views is unacceptable.

Thirty-nine per cent said they believe the “alt-right” holds white supremacist or neo-Nazi views whereas 21 per cent believe they do not. On the other hand, thirty-nine per cent of those surveyed said they had no opinion on the matter.

The survey, which found President Donald Trump’s overall approval rating of 37 per cent was not substantially different to his 36 per cent mark in July, was conducted from 16-20 August and from speaking to 1,014 adults across the United States.

President Trump’s response to the ugly clashes between Neo-Nazis, KKK members and “alt-right” supporters and anti-fascists at Charlottesville, which culminated in Heather Heyer being killed after a car ploughed into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters, has led to him being condemned by members of Congress, leading business executives and military leaders.

President Trump pointed blame at “both sides” for the violence, drawing a moral equivalence between white supremacists and anti-fascists.

While the problem of white supremacy has gained increasing attention in the wake of Charlottesville, it has of course been an ongoing and persistant problem in the states. The murder of Ms Heyer, the 32-year-old anti-fascist protester who was killed, is the most recent in a spate of killings which have raised the spectre of far-right violence.

In February, an Indian-born engineer was shot dead in a Kansas bar, with witnesses telling reporters the gunman shouted “go back to your country” before opening fire.

In May, Jeremy Joseph Christian spewed anti-Muslim “hate speech” to a young woman wearing a hijab on a train and her friend. After other passengers intervened, he pulled out a knife and slashed their throats, with two people left killed and a third seriously injured.

He was charged with murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon and intimidation but sought to defend his actions in court. He shouted slogans such as: "You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism” and could also be heard shouting "Death to the enemies of America".

"Leave this country if you hate our freedom, death to Antifa," he also said, referring to the commonly used shorthand for the anti-fascist movement.

The so-called “alt-right” movement has gained increasing attention since Donald Trump’s presidential bid and his time in the White House. While President Trump has sought to distance himself from the movement - which has been accused of racism, antisemitism and misogyny - its members have rallied behind him and hailed him as their leader.

Steve Bannon, the former executive chair of far-right online publication Breitbart News which he described as “the platform for the alt-right” last year, was fired as President Trump’s White House Chief Strategist at the end of last week.

Since becoming the latest top Trump aide to leave their post, Mr Bannon has returned straight to be the head of Breitbart. In the hours after his departure from the Trump administration became public, Breitbart proclaimed the return of their “populist hero” on its homepage.

“I’ve got my hands back on my weapons,” Mr Bannon told the Weekly Standard. “I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

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