Anyone who has been involved with surveys knows that there may be a great difference between responses gathered and reality. Put another way, the researcher needs to determine whether those who refused to answer plus those who were not part of the survey, whether this group represents the sample and whether those who did respond represent the population. This is a way of expressing the ideal of random sample.
We hear about surveys on the percentage of Muslims who support violence as a method. I want to know how a sample of Americans would answer that question.
From my long observation of political Americans, I know that some harbor an affinity for highly committed people who have used violence. For example, Che Guevara. I witnessed those who couldn’t stifle admiration for the “commitment” of those who were part of the four flight-teams on 9/11. The Current Executive can’t hide his admiration for present-day dictators.
I could continue listing these observations.
My conclusion—a guess—is that 30% of Americans don’t oppose violence as a means to achieve political ends; that this figure is comprised of 10% who would admit this and 20% who would not admit their affinity.
The reason that I don’t use the phrase, “support violence”, is that I don’t believe it is equivalent to, “don’t oppose”. “I support…”, is a positive declaration and that’s not what I am seeking to discover. What I want to know is the number of Americans who do and will remain silent and don’t declare positively any opposition to violence committed and that which may be committed in future.
Let me put it this way: There are many visible people who place a higher value on the feelings of particular groups over the safety of the general public.