Ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans see a sharply di­vided na­tion

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - AP-NORC POLL By Juana Sum­mers

WASH­ING­TON » With just two weeks to go un­til the crit­i­cal midterm elec­tions, an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans say the United States is greatly di­vided, ac­cord­ing to an As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search poll. Few Amer­i­cans be­lieve those stark di­vi­sions will get bet­ter any­time soon.

The newly re­leased sur­vey found that more than 8 in 10 Amer­i­cans think the coun­try is greatly di­vided about im­por­tant val­ues. Just 20 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say they think the coun­try will be­come less di­vided over the next few years, and 39 per­cent think things will get worse. A strong ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans, 77 per­cent, say they are dis­sat­is­fied with the state of pol­i­tics in the coun­try.

The poll was con­ducted Oct. 11-14 in the fi­nal sprint to the midterm elec­tions, in which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been ral­ly­ing his sup­port­ers to turn out to vote in Novem­ber. Over­all, 59 per­cent of Amer­i­cans dis­ap­prove of how Trump, a Re­pub­li­can, is han­dling his job as pres­i­dent, while 40 per­cent of Amer­i­cans ap­prove.

How Amer­i­cans view Trump di­vides along par­ti­san lines, ac­cord­ing to the poll. While 83 per­cent of Re­pub­li­cans ap­prove of how Trump is han­dling his job, 92 per­cent of Democrats and 61 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents say they do not ap­prove.

Ac­cord­ing to the poll, nearly half of Amer­i­cans say they aren’t hear­ing enough from cam­paigns about the is­sues that mat­ter most to them.

Over­all, top is­sues for Amer­i­cans in­clude health care, ed­u­ca­tion, eco­nomic growth, So­cial Se­cu­rity and crime, each of which was called very im­por­tant by at least three- quar­ters of Amer­i­cans. Fifty- eight per­cent of Amer­i­cans say they are dis­sat­is­fied with the way things are go­ing in the coun­try, com­pared with 25 per­cent who say they are sat­is­fied.

Ma­jori­ties of Amer­i­cans also say that they are dis­sat­is­fied with the gap be­tween the rich and the poor, race re­la­tions and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. But there are par­ti­san splits. Eightythree per­cent of Democrats are dis­sat­is­fied with the gap be­tween the wealthy and the poor, com­pared with 43 per­cent of Re­pub­li­cans. Of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, 75 per­cent of Democrats and 32 per­cent of Re­pub­li­cans say they are dis­sat­is­fied. And while 77 per­cent of Democrats say they’re dis­sat­is­fied with race re­la­tions, about 50 per­cent of Re­pub­li­cans say the same.

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