University of Chicago Poll Shows Americans Distrust of Their Own Government Extremely High

One In Three Americans Say Government Is Too Corrupt, May Be Time To Take Up Arms Against It
Pelosi: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Gage Skidmore 6/1/19 Waters: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Gage Skidmore 6/1/19

If you weren’t already convinced that America is headed in the wrong direction and that citizens themselves are more polarized and divided than ever before, a recent poll may have you rethinking that.

According to a new poll by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, nearly one third of those polled said that the American government is so corrupt, that it might just be time for Americans to take up arms against it.

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What The Poll Numbers Say

The poll was conducted between May 19-23 of this year and polled 1,000 registered voters. Along with the extreme political polarization, there is a feeling of alienation among some voters.

Almost half, 49% of those polled said they, “more and more feel like a stranger in my own country.” Broken down, 69% of “strong Republicans” and 65% of those who called themselves “very conservative” felt this way. Just 38% of Democrats said they felt like strangers.    

Among those who said they were “strong Republicans,” and those who said they were “very conservative,” along with 68% of those from rural areas, agreed with the statement that the American government is, “corrupt and rigged against every day people like me.” Democrat voters were evenly divided.

When asked about election integrity, some of the answers were to be expected. Overall, 56% agreed that they, “generally trust elections to be conducted fairly and counted accurately.”

But when broken down by party, the results may have some insight into how some Americans feel about the 2020 election. Of those polled, 78% of Democrats said they trusted that American elections were fair and accurate. That number dropped a bit among Independents to around 51%. Among Republicans, that number drops to just 33%. And when those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 were asked, just 31% said they trusted election integrity. 

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Who Is A Bully And Who Is Spreading ‘Misinformation’?

Divisive political views have seemingly permeated every facet of society. When the poll divided up people by party, an almost even percentage of people on each side agreed with the statement, “Democrats/Republicans are generally bullies who want to impose their political beliefs on those who disagree.” For GOP voters it was 73%, for Democrats 74%. Both parties had factions of people who believe those of the other party are, “generally untruthful and are pushing disinformation.”

Our friendships both on and off of social media have been effected by politics. Of those polled, 25% said they had ended friendships, and other say they tend to avoid family members and friends because of political views. 

When it comes to social media, 38% said they have stopped following others, one in five said they were no longer on social media due to the toxic political climate, and 26% said they no longer frequent brands or businesses because of political views.

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Media’s Role And Glaring Examples

Not many will disagree that the media and the Internet has a huge role to play in the polarizing of Americans. The University of Chicago poll bears that out. When asked about the creators of news content, 48% believe that they are merely, “trying to get their own viewpoint across,” while just 37% said they are, “presenting the facts with as little bias as possible.”

When it comes to where Americans get information, the results were a bit expected. Outlets like CNN and MSNBC were described as having, “a good faith effort to report the news.” Democrats believed CNN and MSNBC coverage by 73% to 14%. For Republicans, it was the opposite, with 68% not having good faith to 19%. Independents were split evenly. The numbers for MSNBC were about the same.

Fox News actually did not do as well as might be thought. Republicans believed Fox 51% to 39%, Democrats 26% to 64%, and Independents 30% to 53%. There was sharp criticism of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok were rated poorly for “good faith” reporting.

In light of another recent poll, one grading the media’s job approval, one would think they might stand up and take notice. According to the latest Gallup poll, media confidence is tanking. Just 16% of Americans have “a great deal,” or “quite a lot” of trust in print media. When it comes to television news, the results are even worse, just 11% expressed trust in TV news. CNN Anchor Don Lemon even suggested that Republicans and Democrats should be covered differently because, “Republicans are doing something that is very dangerous to our society and we have to acknowledge that.”

Combine the media train wreck with the behavior of elected politicians. Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently made a stock purchase of 20,000 shares in a semiconductor company prior to a House vote to provide a $52 billion subsidy to increase the U.S. manufacture of computer chips. 

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was recently caught paying her daughter $16,500 out of a campaign fund account for “campaign services.” It is not the first time. This latest payment brings the total Waters has paid her daughter to a whopping $1.2 million.  

Perhaps the swamp should start paying attention to the fact that everyday Americans have had it with a blatantly corrupt government. They seem to be getting restless.

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