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Battleground: 7 in 10 Say US ‘On The Edge Of Civil War’


Partisan political division and the resulting incivility has reached a low in America, with 67% believing that the nation is nearing civil war, according to a new national survey.

“The majority of Americans believe that we are two-thirds of the way to being on the edge of civil war. That to me is a very pessimistic place,” said Mo Elleithee, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

And worse, he said in announcing the results of the Institute’s Battleground Poll civility survey, the political division is likely to make the upcoming 2020 presidential race the nastiest in modern history.


Highlighting findings that show voters angered with compromise and growing unfavorable ratings of President Trump and most 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, he said the poll “paints a scenario, a picture of a highly negative campaign that will continue to exacerbate the incivility in our public discourse.”

He added, “It will be a sort of race to the bottom, or has the potential to be a race to the bottom.”

The Civility Poll is an offshoot of the famous bipartisan Battleground Poll conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group.


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While it found that 87% are frustrated with the rudeness in politics today, it also revealed that the public really isn’t interested in traditional compromise. For example, a nearly equal 84% said that they are “tired of leaders compromising my values and ideals.”

Elleithee explained, “It seems to me what they’re saying is, ‘I believe in common ground, it’s just that common ground is where I’m standing. As soon you move over to where I am, we’ll be on common ground.’”

Goeas pointed to the poor favorable ratings of presidential candidates and said that 2020 may be a rare race between candidates that less than half the country likes.

“There is going to be a large body of voters who dislike both of them, and that’s going to be the swing vote in the election, which means it dictates the kind of campaign that’s run,” he said.


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Lake agreed that the national division is widening. “There is relative consensus that divisions in this country are getting worse,” she said in her memo accompanying the survey released Tuesday.

Both pollsters noted that the public blames social media, the news media, and President Trump for the growing division.

But Goeas, not a fan of the president’s, said he believes that Trump didn’t start the rudeness in today’s politics. “He is a symptom of where we are, not ‘the’ disease,” he said, adding, “One of the things that I have focused on as we have gone into this death spiral of incivility in the country, that we had to be at a certain point for Trump to become acceptable.”

The poll backs that up. It found that 84% believe that “behavior that used to be seen as unacceptable is now accepted as normal behavior.”

Story cited here.

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