Can we still debate politics with civility?
Bottom Line: Many of the most effectual questions that are surveyed by polling firms aren't disseminated to you in the media. For example if you heard anything out of CBS's most recent national polling it was probably the President's approval rating of 36% in that particular poll. It was popular within many media outlets as CBS's Presidential approval rating is lowest in that poll currently (Just as the President often parrots his highest approval poll, many in the media will often latch onto the worst one). Aside from the questionable approval rating of the President, was additional polling that told a highly instructive story about how bitter the country has become politically. Even if it's just somewhat correct there's a lot of telling information. Here were a few of the findings in the wake of last week's attack in Alexandria...
On the question of whether the level of civility is getting better or worse politically:
- 68% worse
- 7% better
On the question of whether the political tone is encouraging violence:
- 73% yes
- 27% no/no opinion
On the question as to if the opposing political party is a threat to your way of life:
- 21% of Republicans say Democrats are a threat to their way of life
- 25% of Democrats say Republicans represent a threat to their way of life
As to whether we can bridge the political divide:
- 57% of Independents/third party say yes
- 56% of Republicans
- 51% of Democrats
Now here's my question for you. These numbers are pretty awful and sobering - though pretty understandable given the level of hostile rhetoric flung around daily. Who's most responsible? Who's fanning the flames daily? CBS would do well to self examine their industry. I maintain that it's not a particular party or politician that's responsible for the majority of this outcome. It's the venom projected through media, traditional and social, that's driving it.