News Release | Even Before Arizona Shooting, Majority of Americans Saw Lack of Civility as Serious Problem According to Survey
Most believe nation is more divided than in the past.
WASHINGTON, DC – A recent survey re-released today confirms that Americans are fed-up with the lack of civil discourse in American politics and that they believe this is a serious problem. The PRRI/RNS Religion News Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service, found that over eight-in-ten Americans say the lack of civil or respectful discourse in our political system is a serious problem, a view shared by Americans across the religious and political spectrums. Nearly half of Americans (49%) said that the problem was very serious.
“While there is bipartisan agreement on the seriousness of the problem, there is significant disagreement between the parties on how negative the national political stage has gotten,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI.
Nearly six-in-ten (59%) Americans believe that people are more divided over politics than they used to be. More specifically, 41% of Americans believe the 2010 election was generally more negative than past elections. With Democratic candidates facing significant losses at the ballot box in November, they were significantly more likely than Republicans to say that the election was more negative (51% and 26% respectively).
“Though so many Americans view the lack of civility and respect as a serious problem, few see evidence that America’s political leaders are working to overcome differences,” said Daniel Cox, Director of Research for PRRI.
Only one-in-five (21%) Americans believe national political leaders work well together to get things done despite differences.
▶ Read the Questionnaire, Topline Results and Survey Methodology here.
*Results from the survey were based on telephone interviews conducted November 5-8, 2010 among a national probability sample of 1,022 adults age 18 and older.