Monmouth University Poll Finds Few Americans Expect United States to Become United

November 27, 2018 by TWN Staff

In a new poll released by Monmouth University this week, most Americans continue to feel that the country is greatly divided on its core values and that it has become more divided since President Donald Trump took office. Few feel that it will become more united in the coming year, although Republicans are somewhat less negative than Democrats about the nation’s political rift. The Monmouth University Poll also found the public continues to feel that both the president and the major political parties are not giving enough attention to issues that Americans say affect them the most.

In their release, Monmouth University said just 20% of the public feels Americans are united and in agreement on our most important values. More than 3-in-4 say we are not. Majorities of Democrats (82%), Republicans (78%), and independents (72%) feel the country is fundamentally divided. These results are slightly more negative than in December 2017 when 72% said the nation was divided on its core values and 23% said the country was united.

More than 6-in-10 Americans feel that the country has become more divided since Trump took office. Just 11% say the country has become more united and a quarter say there has not really been a change in our sense of unity. A plurality of Republicans join majorities of independents and Democrats in saying that the nation has become more divided since Trump took office. These results are virtually unchanged from a year ago.

Looking ahead, one-third of the public expects the country will become more divided in the coming year. Just 1-in-5 say it will become more united. A plurality feel that not much will change in America’s political divide over the next year. Republicans are split between saying that the country will become more divided (25%) or more united (28%) in the coming year, while there tends to be greater pessimism among Democrats (41% more divided to 17% more united) and independents (35% more divided to 19% more united).

The vast majority of Americans are either angry (19%) or dissatisfied (62%) with Washington. The current result is in line with polls conducted over the past two years, where between 79% and 86% of the public said they were either angry or dissatisfied. Only 12% are currently satisfied with the way things are going in DC today and just 3% are happy with Washington. Democrats (90%) and independents (83%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (69%) to hold a negative view of Washington, but these results still represent sizable majorities of all partisan groups.

The current national results are virtually unchanged from a year ago, but there have been some shifts among partisan groups.  The number of Republicans who feel that the nation’s system of government is basically sound has grown from 60% last December to 68% in the current poll.  Similarly, the number of independents who feel the system is basically sound has increased from 45% to 53%. On the other hand, Democrats’ faith in the American system has dropped over the past year, from 48% who said it was basically sound in 2017 to 37% now.

Trump promised to “drain the swamp” when he got to Washington and 30% of the public currently feels he has made progress on that front. This is a slight improvement from polls taken over the past year and a half when between 20% and 25% of the public felt he was making headway on his swamp-draining pledge. However, another 30% say Trump has made the swamp worse, which remains in line with prior poll results that have ranged from 26% to 33%. One-third of the public say that nothing has really changed about the Washington quagmire since Trump took office.

The ten point increase in confidence that Trump is draining the swamp – 30% in the current poll compared to a low of 20% one year ago – has come from Republicans (66%, up from 47% in December 2017) and also from independents (27%, up from 14% in December 2017). Almost no Democrats share this view (4% in both the current poll and December 2017).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from November 9 to 12, 2018 with 802 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

Full polling results can be found here.

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