A recent online poll conducted by Republican pollsters Neil Newhouse and Joel Benenson via the University of Chicago Institute of Politics reveals an ever-expanding divisiveness among voters who identify as Republicans, Democrats and independents.
The survey also illustrates American citizens’ growing dissatisfaction with the federal government, regardless of party affiliation.
Among the highlights of the poll findings:
- 56% of Americans believe the government is “corrupt and rigged” against them.
- 49% agreed they “more and more feel like a stranger in [their] own country.”
- The majority of Americans (56%) agreed they “generally trust elections to be conducted fairly and counted accurately.” However, the breakdown is 78% Democrats, 51% independents, and 33% Republicans. And for those who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020, the trust factor with elections is 31%.
- In one question, voters were asked if it will be “necessary, at some point soon, for citizens to take up arms against the government.” Overall, 28% of voters agreed, 59% disagreed, and 12% weren’t sure. For that question, however, 36% of Republicans agreed, 35% of independents agreed, and 20% of Democrats agreed. Also, among the American respondents who have guns in their homes, 37% agreed about someday taking up arms against the government, if necessary.
Newhouse and Benenson, who discussed their findings on CNN, found the percentage of Americans pondering a physical fight against government tyranny as “alarming.”
“These are stunning results,” said Newhouse. “We knew the mood of the country was not positive, but it is so much worse than we thought it was.”
Taking up arms against the government didn’t generate a Republican-dominated response. Newhouse said that 45% of Republicans agreed with that question, but so did 33% of NPR listeners and 26% of liberal gun owners.
“It really demonstrates the extraordinary polarization in the country right now, and there’s a pandemic of mistrust between Americans and their government and their media,” says Newhouse, while adding that things in America “may have to get worse before it gets better.”
Newhouse explained, “Democrats don’t trust Republicans. Republicans don’t trust Democrats. Democrats think Republicans are getting disinformation. Republicans think the same thing about Democrats. There is no middle ground here whatsoever.”
Benenson lamented how some Americans are getting their news on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, with social media feeds that were “not filtered or fact checked.”
“We’re in a treacherous area for democracy,” said Benenson. “And with a cherished First Amendment which we have to be mindful and respectful of, I think we have to also think, from the media side, how can we do a better job to not partisanize the news as much as we have been.”
The Newhouse/Benenson poll tracked the responses of 1,000 registered voters across the United States from May 19-23. The margin of error was +/- 3.5%.
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