The Slatest

Almost One in Four Americans Support Idea of Splitting From the Union

The Republic of Texas is an extreme version of a feeling that is surprisingly widespread.

Photo by HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images

After Scotland, all eyes are turning to Catalonia, where voters will hold a non-binding vote on independence from Spain on Nov. 9. But maybe Americans need to focus closer to home. We already knew—courtesy of Slate’s David Weigel—that breakaway movements in the United States were feeling inspired by the Scotland independence referendum vote. But it turns out that wanting to break away from the union is not as much of a fringe idea as some might think. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, almost one-quarter of Americans said they either strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their states leaving the union.


As could be expected, the feeling is hardly overwhelming. After all, more than half—53.3 percent—directly opposed the notion or tended to oppose the very idea. But what is surprising is that the desire to leave the United States “cuts across party lines and regions,” notes Reuters, before specifying what you’d expect: “Republicans and residents of rural Western states are generally warmer to the idea than Democrats and Northeasterners.” The difference between Republican and Democratic secessionist feelings? Almost 10 percentage points. While 29.7 percent of Republicans look favorably upon the idea of secession, only 21 percent of Democrats feel the same way.