40% of Republican voters worried America on brink of second civil war, poll says

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As protests over racial injustice erupted in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd late last month, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio warned of extremists looking to start a second civil war. A new poll released by Rasmussen Reports Monday says some 40% of Republicans believe America is on the brink of another civil war.

“These people are violent, domestic extremists,” the Florida Republican warned of the extremists he said had infiltrated protests in May. “They range from Antifa groups who are radical to the left to some other groups, radical to the right. In fact, groups that I would argue don’t even belong on the political spectrum as we know it. And their goal, while they are ideologically opposed to each other … they hate the police, they hate the government, and they want this country to fall apart … some of them want a second civil war.”

On Tuesday, Air Force Staff Sergeant Steven Carrillo, 32, already in custody for the alleged ambush, murder and attempted murder of sheriff’s deputies in Santa Cruz, was charged with the murder of Federal Protective Service officer David Patrick Underwood as well as other federal charges. Underwood, 53, was killed and his partner wounded on the night of May 29 while they guarded a federal building in Oakland during a nearby protest over Floyd’s death, Forbes reported.

Evidence from the attack tied Sergeant Carrillo to the “boogaloo” movement, a loose group of far-right individuals who are pro-gun, anti-government, and believe that another civil war in America is imminent. The term boogaloo, notes Forbes, comes from the 1984 movie “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” Followers of the movement call themselves boogaloo boys or bois. 

In their survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted June 11 and 14, Rasmussen Reports noted in their results Monday that 34% of likely U.S. voters think America will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years. Only 9% believe that a second civil war is "very likely."

Two years ago, 31% of voters predicted another civil war is likely and 11% felt it was very likely.

While two years ago Democrats were more concerned about a civil war happening, Rasmussen noted that it’s now Republicans who are concerned. Some 40% of Republicans compared to 28% of Democrats are more likely to see a second civil war on the horizon while 38% of independent voters are concerned about the threat of domestic warfare.

Respondents in the survey were also asked if they believe removing Confederate symbols, names and monuments throughout the country honoring those who fought in the first civil war will help race relations and 39% of all voters said it would. This shows an increase from a similar poll in 2017 when only 28% of voters felt such actions would help race relations.

Some 27% of voters disagreed that removing Confederate symbols would help compared to 39% who disagreed in 2017. The number of people who think removing the symbols will do nothing for race relations remained unchanged when comparing the results of the two polls at 28%.

When it comes to the protests over Floyd’s killing, 37% of voters believe it will lead to meaningful racial change in America but when that number is broken down by race, blacks (29%) remain the least hopeful that they will experience meaningful change. Among whites, 35% believe the protests would lead to meaningful change while 48% of other minority voters believe change will come from the protests.

A majority of blacks, 54%, are far more confident than whites, 36%, and other minorities, 40%, that the removal of Confederate symbols, names and monuments will help race relations.

Some 64% of Democrats think getting rid of all traces of Confederate symbols will help race relations while only 19% of Republicans and 31% of unaffiliated voters support this view.

Among voters who see the erasure of Confederate history as hurting race relations, 50% believe a civil war is likely in the next five years.

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