Overall, the research shows little movement when compared to the 2019 data; Americans continue to want to reduce divisiveness and believe that common ground exists.
- Most Americans continue to agree that there is more common ground among the American people than the media and political leaders portray (71% vs. 73% in 2019). Large majorities across political identifications agree with this.
- Ninety-three percent say it is important of the United States to try to reduce divisiveness (93% vs. 92% in 2019).
- The entities most likely to be seen as promoting destructive debate remain the same although with slightly less intensity: National political leaders (62% vs. 78% in 2019) and social media companies (61% vs. 74% in 2019).
- Yet, nearly half of Americans now (48%) think America will become more destructive in dealing with disagreements in the next 10 years (39% in 2019). Differences can be seen across political affiliation too, with Republicans more pessimistic and Democrats less so (54% Republicans, 31% Democrats, 47% Independents and apolitical individuals).
Most Americans share the same sentiments when considering the effects of divisiveness on the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, and the unrest at the U.S. Capitol.
- Three-quarters agree that political divisiveness has made dealing with the economic impact and health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic more difficult.
- Seventy-seven percent say it made conducting the 2020 election more difficult.
- While reflecting on the unrest at the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, nearly all agree that we have to find ways to move forward together peacefully even when we strongly disagree (91%) and that overcoming divisiveness is now more important than ever (89%).
- Pluralities across political affiliations share these viewpoints.
Methods seen as the most effective in reducing divisiveness or destructive disagreements are widespread.
- More than 8 in 10 Americans think that giving ordinary people a greater voice in decisions that affect their lives, improving economic opportunity and security for all people, or electing leaders who are deeply committed to unifying the country would be effective ways to decrease divisiveness.
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