Yes, it's gotten ugly: Large majority of Americans think incivility is worse under Donald Trump

New poll from PBS News Hour and NPR reveals the obvious: Most of us think civic discourse has gotten worse

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 3, 2017 10:05AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A new poll finds that a large majority of all Americans believe that political incivility has worsened since Donald Trump became president.

The poll found that 70 percent of Americans believe that the level of civility in Washington has worsened since Trump took office, according to PBS. This trend held up regardless of the partisan affiliation of the individuals taking the survey.

The poll also found that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump's performance as president, compared to 37 percent who approve and 12 percent who are unsure. Eighty-six percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents disapproved of Trump, whereas 80 percent of Republicans approved of him.

This survey also found that 56 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Trump, including 87 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents. By contrast, 82 percent of Republicans had a favorable impression of the president and 66 percent said they believed things were going in the right direction for the country. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents felt things were going in the wrong direction, as did 61 percent of the total number of respondents.

The incivility question is particularly intriguing because of a recent development in the Trump news cycle. On Sunday the president tweeted out a now-infamous video that depicted him physically attacking a man with a CNN logo on his head. It included the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN, and many critics suggested it added the threat of violence to the president's overt hostility toward media outlets which criticize him.

Trump's "wrestling tweet" was sent after this poll was conducted, but might serve to underline its findings. Views of this president and his conduct remain sharply polarized along party lines, but in most Americans' eyes his administration has made the tone of national discourse dramatically worse.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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