Almost 1 In 10 Americans Think It’s OK To Be A Neo-Nazi, Says Terrifying New Poll

by Lilli Petersen
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's been a troubling few weeks for advocates of racial justice. On Aug. 12, the country was rocked after white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, leaving a 32-year-old woman dead. In the aftermath of the event, many were even more disturbed when President Donald Trump refused to denounce white supremacy. But many, apparently, were not: after a new poll showed that nine percent of Americans think it's OK to hold white supremacist views, it begs the question, how many neo-Nazis are in America?

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Aug. 21 revealed that nearly one in ten Americans, a number equivalent to 22 million people, think it's “acceptable” to hold neo-Nazi views. (In contrast, 83 percent say it's unacceptable, and eight percent somehow had no opinion on neo-Nazism.) A similar number, 10 percent, said that they support the alt-right movement, while 50 percent oppose it.

And whether the two are related? About 40 percent of Americans think members of the alt-right hold white supremacist views, almost twice as many as those who think they doesn't.

The split across party lines is significant, too.

A full 57 percent of Democrats think the alt-right is espousing neo-Nazism, while less than 20 percent of Republicans do.

Another key finding? Charlottesville has not done wonders for Trump's popularity.

Only 28 percent of those polled approved of Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12. One woman was killed while protesting a white supremacist rally in the town, when a man who had been photographed at the rally earlier that day drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. More than a dozen others were injured.

Trump drew heavy criticism for refusing to immediately denounce white supremacy or acknowledge its role in the day's violence, and later for saying that the so-called “alt-left” was also to blame.

The poll found that more than half of Americans, at 56 percent, disapproved of Trump's handling of the situation. And regarding his comments on those involved, 42 percent thought that Trump had been putting neo-Nazis and white supremacists on equal standing with the people who stood against them.

It's slightly reassuring that, at the very least, the majority of people seem to agree that white supremacy is not OK.

The agreement that neo-Nazism should always be denounced was a bright spot, too.

But on the other hand, the fact that any significant number of Americans think it's OK is more than a little troubling.

We've got our work cut out for us, America.