SURVEY: Democracy On The Brink — Political Rivals Considered A Serious Threat To The Country And Its People

Most Republicans don’t believe elections are ‘free and fair’ anymore; consider Biden an illegitimate president.

DENVER, CO/PRNewswire/ — Political partisanship has reached a new and alarming moment. Neighbor is now pitted against neighbor as never before as most voters consider members of the opposite party a serious threat to the United States and its people.

According to a new survey by ROI Rocket, a leading provider of market research-based consulting, about three in five Republicans (60%) believe Democrats represent a serious threat to the country while about one in two Democrats (52%) feel the same about Republicans. Registered independents fall somewhere between these extremes. About one in five believe Democrats are a serious threat and about one in four believe Republicans constitute one.

This divide goes beyond party affiliation to the legitimacy of America’s election system. Only about 14% of Republicans ‘fully trust’ elections in this country are ‘free and fair’ compared to 55% of Democrats and 29% of independents. Moreover, despite the lack of any substantive evidence, about two in three Republicans (67%) persist in believing President Joseph R. Biden won office due to fraudulent voting practices. These and other, related attitudes raise troubling questions about Americans’ commitment to traditional democratic institutions.

Case in point: differing partisan perceptions of the Capitol Building riot that occurred on January 6th. Members of the two major parties tend to characterize this event in wildly different terms. Over half of Republicans (52%) describe it as a demonstration or protest while more than two in three Democrats (71%) call it an insurrection or attempted coup.

Heated partisan differences are apparent when it comes to apportioning blame for the riot as well. Nearly nine in ten Democrats (87%) blame former President Donald J. Trump, in whole or in part; significantly, only about one in four Republicans (25%) considers him blameworthy. Republicans are more likely to point the finger at Antifa or other left-wing organizations than Trump. About 54% of Republicans blame Antifa even though the FBI issued a statement asserting no evidence exists this or other, similar organizations were involved in the incident.

The survey found one growing point of consensus across party lines: the need for significant institutional reforms. About 43% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans and 42% of independents agree strongly with the statement that the American system of government is broken and needs to be changed. While the nature of any changes is likely to spark as much partisan debate as recent, precipitating events, it seems one an increasingly large number of Americans are interested in having.


This study of 1,224 U.S. residents aged 18 and older was fielded between January 13 and January 21, 2021. The results have an associated margin of error of +/- 2.8% at the 95% confidence level in the most conservative case. This means the results come within plus or minus 2.8% of the results that would have been obtained given a census of all qualified individuals. Sample collection was balanced to U.S. Census figures for gender, age, race/ethnicity and household income.


Founded in 2007, ROI Rocket is a leading provider of full-service market research, marketing and sales automation, and digital agency support with offices in Denver, COVancouver, WA, and Jacksonville, FL.

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