A new poll found Republicans out there – somewhere – who believe that Joe Biden will be “very successful” in his effort to unify the country, as he promised during his campaign.
But not very many, according to the annual Civility Poll commissioned by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.
In fact, only 2% had that belief, and not a single Republican thought Biden would be “extremely successful.”
The institute presumed the 2020 election was conducted fairly, accusing President Trump and his supporters of a “stubborn” refusal to “accept the will of the people.”
It also notes the “unprecedented insurrection in the nation’s capital” and charges that it was ” encouraged and incited … by the president and his supporters.”
The poll found 56% of Americans are at least somewhat optimistic that Joe Biden “can restore civility and unity in our politics, an issue at the forefront of his campaign.”
It found that 92% want the president and Congress to work together to solve the nation’s most important problems, and 63% think Biden and Congress will be at least somewhat successful in this effort. That includes 44% of Republicans.
Asked to rate on a scale of 0-100 the level of political division in America, the mean response was 76. But when asked to consider what their view will be in one year, the mean response was 65.
Overall, 63% of voters believe efforts to bring opponents together to work on national problems will be “somewhat successful. Fourteen percent expect the result to be very successful and 5% extremely successful.
Overall, 28% say the unity effort will not be successful at all.
The institute noted a large party divide on the issue.
“Seventy-nine percent of Republicans predict that Biden will be not at all successful, 17% say he will be somewhat successful, and only 2% say he will be very successful (no Republicans believe Biden will be extremely successful at restoring unity and civility). Independents are slightly more hopeful, with 47% believing Biden will be at least somewhat successful, and 42% believing will not be successful at all.”
More than half of Democrats say Biden will be extremely or very successful, and another 42% say he will be somewhat successful.
Other details: “Men are less hopeful on this question (50% say that he will not be at all successful) compared to women (33% say the same). Age is the one pattern that does not follow the vote. Along generational lines, seniors are most optimistic about Biden’s ability to restore unity and civility — only 35% say he will not be at all successful, while nearly a third (31%) say he will be extremely/very successful. Among voters 18-44, 56% anticipate success on this score compared to 40% who predict failure. Similarly, among voters 45-64, 53% believe Biden will successfully restore unity and civility compared to 46% who feel otherwise. White voters (the bulk of the passing administration’s supporters) are most likely to say Joe Biden will not be successful at all (47%), while only 11% of black voters and 25% of Latino voters say the same.”
Biden’s stated aim to unify the nation will be severely tested by how his party handles its impeachment of Trump, which charged him with incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 riot. Democrats are planning a politically divisive Senate trial after he leaves office, which many legal scholars believe is unconstitutional.
An analysis of the Georgetown poll by Republican pollster Ed Goeas said: “The Catch-Twenty-Two is that no one trusts the other side to take that deep breath and enter into that more civil and respectful discussion simultaneously. Our political system has the wrong incentives right now. Cable news channels provide flattering coverage of partisan grandstanders, but rarely highlight consensus builders, and even when they do, they then follow it up with the question of ‘what took so long?’ News media needs to be part of taking a deep breath and moving towards a more civil discourse that plays to the better angels rather than feed their audience’s cynicism.”
The Georgetown poll showed voters are concerned about both “left wing groups” and “white nationalist militias.”
Eighty two percent of respondents believe “divisions” in the country are getting worse, and 93% are upset with the “uncivil and rude behavior of many politicians.” Voters also are fed up with politicians who compromise their values and who refuse to stand up to special interests.
The poll found: “When it comes to the perceived causes of the decline of American politics, voters tend to point to a mix of social media like Facebook and Twitter (89% responsible, including 66% very responsible), President Trump (78% responsible, including 55% very responsible), and wealthy special interests (87% responsible, including 59% very responsible). A second tier of factors includes partisan political leaders from both major parties and specific media outlets.”
The poll appeared not to address the question of the unrelenting “resistance” staged by Democrats to President Trump throughout the entirety of his presidential term, which included Hillary Clinton repeatedly denouncing Trump as “illegitimate.”
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