Most Americans haven't heard about the "alt-right" political movement, according to a new PEW Research Center report. The proliferation of "alt-right" coverage in left-leaning news outlets has coincided with the inexorable rise of president-elect Donald Trump, who recently gained criticism for naming Steve Bannon, former editor of right-leaning Brietbart, as a senior advisor.

A New Ideology

The term has gained considerable traction in recent months after previously being a little discussed phrase not present in mainstream political consciousness. Richard Spencer, the man who coined the term, described the movement as "an ideology of identity, European identity".

The movement spawned from widespread disillusionment with traditional conservative Politics.

However, most Americans haven't heard of the burgeoning movement. Of those interviewed, 17 percent stated they knew "a lot" about the "alt-right", 28 percent said they knew "a little" and a majority of 54 percent said they didn't know anything at all about the movement.

Moreover, there was a general lack of understanding in regards to the definition of the "alt-right". Asked to describe the "alt-right", out of the interviewees that answered that they have heard either "a lot" or "a little" about the "alt-right", 34 percent stated they associate the group with white supremacy or white nationalism.

Democrats likely to associate alt-right with white nationalism

The research found that Democrats were three times as likely to associate the "alt-right" with white nationalism. 14 percent defined the movement as racist while 12 percent wrote that they associate the movement with the extreme right. These findings appear to suggest that the term is little more than a buzz word rather than a coherent political movement.

Furthermore, there is a sizable gap in awareness of the "alt-right" movement which is informed by educational differences. Around 76 percent of those in possession of a postgraduate degree or higher say they've heard "a lot" about the alt-right. Of those with no more than a high school degree, only 34 percent had heard of the movement.