We examine whether the George Floyd protests influenced public opinion on political violence. Drawing upon the 2016 and 2020 American National Election Studies, we find that most U.S. citizens do not support political violence, and those overall rates remained relatively unchanged. However, we found seismic demographic shifts in attitudes between the two samples. Using logistic regression, we find that strength of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, liberal ideology, youth, and protest participation were positively correlated with the belief that political violence is justifiable. There was a decrease in support for political violence among older people who oppose the BLM movement, are college educated, ideologically conservative, and trust mainstream news. We argue that cultural views on the acceptability of political violence are pliable, and we offer a theoretical model that explains how salient movement events can shift public attitudes toward controversial protest methods.
HOW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS INFLUENCE PUBLIC OPINION ON POLITICAL VIOLENCE: ATTITUDE SHIFTS IN THE WAKE OF THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS*
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Davyd Setter, Sharon Erickson Nepstad; HOW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS INFLUENCE PUBLIC OPINION ON POLITICAL VIOLENCE: ATTITUDE SHIFTS IN THE WAKE OF THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 1 December 2022; 27 (4): 429–444. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-27-4-429
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