Most Americans believe civility has deteriorated in Washington, D.C. since President Donald Trump was elected. Seven in ten residents, 70%, think the tone between Republicans and Democrats has gotten worse. This is twice the proportion of Americans, 35%, who reported in a 2009 Gallup poll that civility in the nation’s capital had declined after the election of President Barack Obama. Currently, only 6% believe the partisan dissidence has gotten better, and 20% think it has stayed about the same.
In these hyper-polarized times, there is agreement that there is little respect across the partisan divide in Washington, D.C. Although Democrats are most likely to hold this view, 81%, seven in ten independents, 70%, and nearly two-thirds of Republicans, 65%, agree.
“Searching for consensus in Washington?” asks Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “There’s strong consensus across the board that civility in Washington is on the outs.”
With the exception of the Intelligence Community such as the CIA and the FBI, 60%, and the courts, 60%, there is lackluster trust in the nation’s institutions. Americans divide in the trust they have that elections are fair. 50% have confidence in our voting system and 47% do not. Fewer have confidence in the Trump Administration, 37%, public opinion polls, 35%, the media, 30%, and Congress, 29%. These proportions are little changed from a similar survey released in March.
“If nothing else, Americans are calling upon the Trump Administration, the media, Congress, and even public opinion polls to redouble their efforts to win the public’s trust,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “As for public opinion polls, the practice of transparency is a good first step.”
Both Democrats, 66%, and Republicans, 58%, have confidence in the courts. Similarly, six in ten Americans trust the Intelligence Community, although Democrats, 72%, are more likely than Republicans, 59%, to have confidence.
However, the partisan divide widens substantially when it comes to confidence in other institutions. 50% of Democrats, compared with 28% of Republicans, trust public opinion polls. A majority of Democrats, 56%, have faith in the media while only 9% of Republicans trust the press.
Republicans, 84%, are more than ten times as likely as Democrats, 8%, to trust the Trump Administration. Republicans, 72%, are also more likely than Democrats, 42%, to believe that elections are fair. Although confidence in Congress, regardless of party, is low, Republicans, 39%, are somewhat more likely than Democrats, 25%, to have faith in the legislative branch.
When considering a handful of the rights afforded to Americans, majorities of U.S. residents consider the amount of freedom granted to be appropriate in relation to the right to vote, 59%, freedom of religion, 53%, and the right to protest or criticize the government, 52%. Nearly half consider the amount of rights given to the press to be at an acceptable level, 48%. However, among those who do not share this view, there is little consensus about whether the nation has gone too far in expanding the right, 24%, or gone too far in restricting it, 24%.