In 2013, for the first time in a decade, the number of far-right extremist groups in the U.S. decreased, according to an annual tally released Tuesday by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC, which tracks hate groups, militias, and extremists, found that the number of hate groups in the country fell seven percent last year, from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013. The number of groups that the SPLC considers part of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement fell by 19 percent, from 1,360 in 2012 to 1,096 in 2013.
Hypothesizing about the causes of the drop in numbers, the SPLC said that Obama’s re-election in 2012 “appears to have drained energy from the movement.”
“Other factors that apparently are contributing to the decline are an improving economy, crackdowns by law enforcement, and the adoption of far-right issues by mainstream politicians,” the group said in a press release.
Despite the numbers, the SPLC still considers the radical right to be operating at historically high levels
“The radical right is growing leaner and meaner,” Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC, said in a statement. “The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high.
The full report is available here.