According to a new poll, 43 percent of Republicans say they could support a military overthrow of the U.S. government.
The results of an online survey conducted September 2-3 by online pollster YouGov reveal that 43 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats could imagine a situation in which they would support a military coup against the U.S. government.
Specifically, the poll found that the proportion of Republicans, independents and Democrats who said they could support a coup peaked at the respective numbers above when the participants were asked "whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the Constitution."
Overall, only 29 percent of Americans said they could imagine supporting a military takeover of the U.S. government. Forty-one percent said they could not.
The finding of the poll that 70 percent of Americans believe that members of the U.S. military "want what is the best for the country," throws some light on the finding that an unexpectedly high percentage of Americans could imagine supporting a military coup.
Additionally, the poll found that 71 percent of Americans believe that members of Congress want only "what is best for themselves."
Fifty-nine percent ascribed the same motives to local politicians.
The poll results also revealed that conservatives and Republicans in particular fear that the Obama administration could use the Jade Helm military exercises to stage a coup and impose martial law.
Some analysts have pointed out that the fear among Republicans that the Jade Helm military exercises could be used to stage a military coup appears to be in flagrant contradiction of the poll results which showed that Republicans believe that members of the U.S. military "want what is best for the country" and thus could be trusted to act appropriately if called to defend the Constitution against a rogue civilian government.
But it possibly reveals the political-ideological motives underlying the avowed support among Republicans for a military coup against a "civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution."
Republicans who worry about a Jade Helm military coup while claiming they would support a coup against a civilian government "violating the constitution" could be revealing that their greater concern is about the political and ideological direction in which the country is headling. Thus, many Republicans would support only a military coup by officers who share their conservative political and ideological views.
The poll results could thus be interpreted as reflecting the sharp ideological polarization of Americans, or more specially, the widening gap between conservatives and liberals about the direction in which the country should be heading.
The UK-based YouGov says it conducts internets polls on matters relating to "politics, public affairs, products, brands and other topics of general interest."
The latest poll by the group, which sampled the opinion of 1,000 Americans, was apparently inspired by the recent case of West Point law professor William C. Bradford, who was forced to resign due to uproar that followed a number of his recent publications.
In one of the publications, he argued that U.S. military officers "may have a duty to seize control of the federal government if the federal government acted against the interest of the country."
However, Abraham Wyner, an expert at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has faulted the YouGov poll, saying that online polls were "worse than just about any other way you can put together a poll."
"People who are participating in an online poll are generally attracted to that poll because of some variable, some characteristic which is connected typically to one outcome or the other in that poll."