According to poll, political divisions in country widening
Seven in 10 Americans say the nation’s political divisions are at least as big as during the Vietnam War, according to a new poll, which also finds nearly six in 10 saying Donald Trump’s presidency is making the U.S. political system more dysfunctional.
The Washington PostUniversity of Maryland poll — conducted nine months into Trump’s tumultuous presidency — reveals a starkly pessimistic view of U.S. politics, widespread distrust of the nation’s political leaders and their ability to compromise, and an erosion of pride in the way democracy works in America.
Trump’s arrival in the White House in January ushered in a period of big political fights — over issues including health care, taxes and immigration — and an escalation in attacks on political opponents, over social media and elsewhere. The new normal
Seven in 10 Americans say politics have reached a dangerous low point, and a majority of those believe the situation is a “new normal” rather than temporary, according to the poll.
The poll finds seven in 10 Americans view the Trump administration as dysfunctional. But dissatisfaction extends beyond the executive branch: Even more Americans, eight in 10, say Congress is dysfunctional, and there is limited trust in other institutions, including the media.
In the poll, 14 percent of Americans said they view ethics and honesty of politicians as excellent or good, down from 25 percent in 1997 and 39 percent in 1987. And 12 percent say members of Congress base their policies on a set of core values; 87 percent say they mainly do whatever is needed to win re-election. Consumers confident
Recent surveys have shown consumer confidence is up and stands at the highest levels in the past decade, so it does not appear economic concerns are driving discontent.
Overall, more Americans say Trump deserves “a lot” of blame for political dysfunction (51 percent) than the Republican Party (38 percent) or the Democratic Party (32 percent).
The poll also suggests Americans are using political labels to define people more broadly. Half of Americans say that if they know someone is a Democrat, that not only indicates what they think about government policies but also how they live. More than half of Americans said the same thing about Republicans.
At the same time, many Americans feel less commonality with their neighbors. A 56 percent majority says fewer things bind Americans than in the past, a view shared by majorities across party lines and most demographic groups.