(Video Credit: CNN)
As America gears up to honor the adoption of the Declaration of Independence this Fourth of July, a new survey revealed Americans’ growing political divide, not just between political parties but government institutions after more than one-quarter of respondents indicated it may “soon be necessary to take up arms” against it.
“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,” Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said in an interview on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”
Newhouse and Democrat pollster Joel Benenson conducted the poll on behalf of The University of Chicago Institute of Politics between May 19-23, 2022 with the intent to “probe polarization and its relationship to the news sources upon which Americans rely in a fractionated media environment.” They sampled 1,000 registered voters across the country with quotas for gender, region, age, ethnicity, and education, and “modest weighting was also applied by 2020 Presidential vote to match the national election results.”
The poll found that 28 percent of respondents across the political spectrum agreed with the statement, “It may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government.” That number is slightly higher at one in three Republicans and Independents who agreed with the statement compared to only one in five Democrats holding that view. Among self-identified “Strong Republicans,” the number goes up to 45 percent.
SCOTUS delivers NY a huge blow and the Second Amendment a win on gun ruling https://t.co/L6ChIds2Rp
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) June 23, 2022
When it came to opinions about the government being “corrupt and rigged against me,” a majority of voters agreed including nearly 3 out of every 4 “strong Republicans.” A majority (51%) of “very liberal” respondents agreed with the statement.
Although 56 percent felt that they “generally trust elections to be conducted fairly and counted accurately,” opinions between parties showed a much wider divide. Democrats generally trust the election process with 78 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement. About half of Independents and only one-third of Republicans agreed with the statement.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) June 5, 2022
“These are stunning results,” Newhouse told CNN host John King. “We knew the mood of the country was not positive, but it is so much worse than we thought it was.”
“Democrats don’t trust Republicans,” he explained. “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 blamed the divide on the fact that people seek their news out from disparate sources that can be politically slanted or “not filtered or fact-checked.”
“We have a fractionalized media environment where people can find and seek out media outlets, major ones, that they agree with,” Benenson said. “We aren’t having common conversations.”
“We’re in a treacherous area for democracy,” he concluded, “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.”
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