NEW YORK—A groundbreaking “Back-to-Normal Barometer” survey for the first time finds 61% of Americans agree with the concern that the U.S. could be on the verge of another Civil War. Additionally, 52% of consumers have also stockpiled food or essential goods in anticipation of social unrest tied to a resurgence of COVID-19 in the coming months and/ or the election.
Within the 61% of Americans who believe that the U.S. could be on the verge of another Civil War, 40% strongly agree and 21% somewhat agree. Additionally, 16% somewhat disagree and 23% strongly disagree.
“This is the single most frightening poll result I’ve ever been associated with,” said Rich Thau, President of Engagious, one of the three firms—along with the Sports and Leisure Research Group and ROKK Solutions—that conducted the survey.
The heightened concern over Civil War is most acute at the political extremes with 52% very liberal, 52% very conservative, 32% somewhat liberal, 34% moderate and 35% somewhat conservative who believe this statement.
“This latest finding, while not anticipated, is yet another example of an extremely bifurcated population, ” said Jon Last, President of the Sports and Leisure Research Group, and a former national president of the Insights Association (MRA) and Marketing Research Institute International. “ Throughout the past seven months, our research has seen strong fragmentation in the public’s level of concerns ranging from public health to the economy to issues of social and political unrest.”
While 52 percent plan to stockpile, or have already stockpiled, food and other essential goods in anticipation of health or social uncertainty, 48 percent have not done so. Additionally, among those who plan to or have stockpiled, 58% did so because they are anticipating a resurgence of COVID-19 in the coming months; 23 percent did so in anticipation of political unrest tied to the election and 19% did so over social unrest tied to racial concerns.
Those who plan to stockpile, or have already stockpiled, food or other essential goods are dominated by those who lie at the political extremes. 65% of those who identify as very liberal and 57% who are very conservative plan to do so. This compares to 46% who are somewhat liberal, 45% who are somewhat conservative and 49% who are moderate.
“We have been conducting surveys of consumers and employees since the beginning of April in order to help industries make strategic decisions in the month ahead. The current data shows an alarming trend that that extreme political polarization of our country has a majority of Americans concerned that our country could be a powder keg ready to explode into a Civil War,” said Ron Bonjean, Partner at ROKK Solutions.
The margin of error on the September 23, 2020 online survey of 491 Americans is +/-4.42% at the 95% confidence interval.
Sports and Leisure Research Group is a market research firm specializing in the sports, travel, and leisure sectors, based in White Plains, NY. Engagious is a bicoastal research firm specializing in corporate and public policy message testing and message refinement. ROKK Solutions is a Washington, DC-based bipartisan public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, media engagement, digital and social strategy, message amplification and crisis management.