With Thanksgiving upon us, many are preparing for difficult and awkward conversations or working on strategies to avoid dinner table debates all together.
A new national study from the nonpartisan group The Common Good in association with Emerson CollegePolling finds the country dangerously divided with 52% of Americans now saying they have friends and family with whom they can no longer discuss politics civilly or respectfully.
“It has become difficult to discuss politics and social issues in this polarized atmosphere where there is no longer a common set of facts or a universally accepted source of credible information,” said Patricia Duff, founder of The Common Good. “Bridging this divide is essential to healing our country and ensuring a functional democracy but it is going to take a great deal of work to get there.”
The group launched an annual index which quantifies and tracks the level of national division as it seeks to identify causes and potential solutions. The greatest source of national division as identified by the study is political party politics. Respondents believed the way in which political parties choose candidates is the greatest driver of national division with the news media a distant second.
“The political primary process in both parties tends to promote extreme candidates that are not in sync with the beliefs of most Americans,” said Duff. “This process is a leading cause of national division but it is systemic and can be fix if the parties have the motivation and will to address it.”
The Common Good Index of National Division (TCGI) for 2022 is 71 and it highlights some dangerous and disturbing findings.
- A third of the country (33%) believes political violence is “sometimes justified.”
- 62% believe the country is so divided, it can no longer operate effectively (30% strongly).
- 78% believe the greatest threat to the country is from internal rather than external forces.
- 61% believe national division is a threat to democracy. 71% Republicans, 61% of Democrats.
- 43% believe a civil war is likely. 51% of Republicans, 40% of Democrats.
The Common Good Index of National Division (TCGI) will be released annually. To get more details on this year’s results here: https://thecommongoodus.org/the-common-good-index