Social media, cable news media and former President Donald Trump bear “a lot” of responsibility for the rise in political violence, a majority of registered voters say in the latest national NBC News poll.
Nearly all voters surveyed in the poll — 93% — say social media deserves a lot or some of the blame in the rise in political violence, while 87% say the same of cable news media, and 72% say the same of Trump. A majority of voters — 51% — the former president bears “a lot” of the responsibility.
A slightly higher share of voters say Republican candidates and elected officials bear responsibility compared to Democrats. And 59% say President Joe Biden bears a lot or some of that responsibility.
The survey also finds a majority of voters across political parties, including 65% of Democrats, 70% of Republicans and 71% of independents, say social media bears a lot or some of the responsibility for political violence.
”Americans are all really concerned about social media’s impact here,” said Jeff Horwitt of the Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates, who conducted the poll along with Bill McInturff of the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies.
The NBC News poll also found that a plurality of voters believe extreme rhetoric contributed to instances of political violence, rather viewing them as isolated incidents.
Asked whether “extreme political rhetoric used by some in the media and by political leaders” contributed to the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in their home last month, or whether it was “an isolated incident by a disturbed person,” 49% say rhetoric was an important contributor, while 40% say it was an isolated incident.
The share of voters citing extreme rhetoric as a factor has increased compared to past incidents of political violence.
After the June 2017 shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice, 41% cited extreme rhetoric as a factor in the NBC News survey. And 24% said the same after Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot and gravely injured at a constituent event in Jan. 2011.
The NBC News poll was conducted Nov. 3-5 of 1,000 registered voters — 804 of whom were reached by cell phone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.