Voters believe US two-thirds of the way to 'edge of a civil war': poll

The average American voter believes the U.S. is two-thirds of the way to the “edge of a civil war,” according to a new Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service poll released Wednesday.

The poll showed that when voters were asked to rate divisions in America on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the “edge of a civil war,” the mean response was 67.23.

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The survey also showed a majority of Americans believe that political, racial and class divisions are getting worse, including at least three-quarters of men and women and three-quarters of urban, suburban and rural voters. At least 70 percent of voters in all age groups, as well as white, black and Hispanic voters, feel the same.

The poll reflected lingering concerns from the same poll conducted in April, in which 90 percent of voters reported they were concerned about the “uncivil and rude behavior of politicians.”

While voters agree that societal divisions are growing, they do not appear to agree on the source of the incivility. Majorities of Republicans say Democratic political leaders, social media, large newspapers, CNN and MSNBC are very responsible for the political division, while majorities of Democrats say Republican political leaders, social media, Fox News, wealthy special interests and President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE are the culprit.

Independents point to social media and Trump as the two actors that are responsible for divisive political discourse.

The poll also showed inherent contradictions in the electorate, with more than 80 percent of voters saying both that “compromise and common ground should be the goal for political leaders” and that they are “tired of leaders compromising their values and ideals and want leaders who will stand up to the other side.” 

This contradiction, Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service Executive Director Mo Elliethee says, "creates mixed messages for even the most skilled political leader trying to decide whether to be a fighter or a dealmaker.”

The Georgetown poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters from Oct. 6-10 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.