Despite deep political polarization and levels of civil and political unrest not seen in a generation, American voters are cautiously optimistic about the future of our politics, according to the most recent Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service (GU Politics) Civility Poll.
Just one week ahead of the Biden-Harris Inauguration (with its stated theme of “America United”), more than half (56%) of Americans are at least somewhat optimistic President-Elect Joe Biden can restore civility and unity in our politics, an issue at the forefront of his campaign. A full 9 in 10 Americans (92%) want the President and Congress to work together to solve our most important problems, and 63% think President-Elect Biden and Congress will be at least somewhat successful in this effort, including 44% of Republicans.
The poll asked voters to rate on a scale of 0-100 the level of political division in America, with 100 being the highest level. Asked their view of the level of division now, the mean response was 76. But when asked to consider where their view will be in one year, the mean response was 65, an improvement of more than ten points.
“It’s heartening to see, even after one of the darkest days in our Republic, that Americans still share a sense of cautious optimism about the future of our politics and political system.” said Mo Elleithee, Executive Director of the Institute for Politics and Public Service. “The scenes at the US Capitol made me angry and broke my heart. But they did not shake my faith in politics. It looks like many Americans are trying to keep the faith, too.”
The latest GU Politics Civility Poll, part of the GU Politics Battleground Poll, was conducted by Republican pollster and former GU Politics Fellow Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake between January 4, 2021 and January 7, 2021, thus providing some of the first insights into voter sentiment in civility in politics in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol Hill attack on January 6, 2021.