Trends

More People Paying Attention to Politics

Pew Research: “Nearly six-in-ten women (58%) say they are paying increased attention to politics since Trump’s election, compared with 46% of men. Overall, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents than Republicans and Republican leaners say they have become more attentive to politics. But there are similarly wide gender gaps in heightened interest to politics among members of both parties.”

Also interesting: “Most people (59%) say it is ‘stressful and frustrating’ to talk about politics with people who have a different opinion of Trump than they do; just 35% find such conversations ‘interesting and informative.'”

Big Majority Say U.S. Politics Is Less Civil Under Trump

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds 70% of Americans say the level of civility in Washington has gotten worse since President Trump was elected, while just 6% say the overall tone has improved.

For comparison, 35% in 2009 said civility in the country had declined in the U.S. following President Obama’s election while 21% thought civility and the tone of discourse in the country had improved.

The survey also shows distrust of many of the nation’s fundamental democratic institutions.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“By 2040, 70 percent of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states, which are also home to the overwhelming majority of the 30 largest cities in the country. By extension, 30 percent of Americans will live in the other 35 states. That means that the 70 percent of Americans get all of 30 Senators and 30 percent of Americans get 70 Senators.”

— Political scientist David Birdsell, quoted by City Limits.

Big Majority of Americans Feel ‘Alarmed’ or ‘Uneasy’

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that 42% of of those surveyed when asked how they felt when they think about how things are going in Washington today said there were “alarmed.” Another 33% feel “uneasy.” Just 11% choose the positive “excited.”

“The air of angst is bipartisan. Nine of 10 Democrats feel uneasy or alarmed; so do a majority of Republicans.”

Nearly Half of Americans Believe In the ‘Deep State’

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 48% of Americans believe in the concept of a deep state — i.e. “military, intelligence and government officials who try to secretly manipulate government policy” — and 35% dismiss it as a conspiracy theory.

The belief is very bipartisan. While 45% of Republicans believe it exists — perhaps believing it is undermining Trump even as we speak — 46% of Democrats also believe it exists — perhaps hoping it is undermining Trump even as we speak.

Are Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Turning Red?

Stuart Rothenberg: “If 2016 was a realignment, it was a shallow one. Yes, the Republican presidential nominee carried Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but the margins were extremely narrow: just over 44,000 votes out of over 6 million cast in Pennsylvania and under 23,000 out of almost 3 million in Wisconsin.”

“Still, realignments in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (to say nothing about competitive states like Ohio and Iowa), particularly around cultural issues, could affect near-term elections, including next year’s midterms and the 2020 presidential election.”

“Count me as skeptical that the statewide shifts in both states are large enough and long-lasting enough to constitute partisan realignments. But the 2018 and 2020 elections should give us a better handle on what, if anything, has happened in both states.”

Most Americans Want Government to Do More

First Read: “This is another striking finding from the NBC/WSJ poll: 57% of the public says that the government should do more to solve problems and meet the needs of Americans, versus 39% who said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals. That’s the highest share yearning for a more active government since the poll began asking voters about the role of government in 1995. And it’s a significant shift even since 2015, when 50% said that the government should do more while 46% complained that it was too active.”

The Crisis of Western Civilization

David Brooks: “In America, the basic fabric of civic self-government seems to be eroding following the loss of faith in democratic ideals. According to a study published in The Journal of Democracy, the share of young Americans who say it is absolutely important to live in a democratic country has dropped from 91 percent in the 1930s to 57 percent today.”

“While running for office, Donald Trump violated every norm of statesmanship built up over these many centuries, and it turned out many people didn’t notice or didn’t care.”

“The faith in the West collapsed from within. It’s amazing how slow people have been to rise to defend it.”

Most Think Marijuana Should Be Legal

A new CBS News poll finds that 61% of Americans think marijuana use should be legal, a five-point increase from last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll.

“Eighty-eight percent favor medical marijuana use. Seventy-one percent oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and its use in states that have legalized it, including opposition from most Republicans, Democrats, and independents.”

Most Oppose Bathroom Laws Limiting Transgender Rights

A new Public Religion Research Institute poll finds that 53% of Americans oppose laws requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth, while 39% favor such laws.

Significant partisan divisions remain, the survey found. While 65% of Democrats and 57% of independents oppose laws limiting transgender bathroom rights, 59% of Republicans support the laws.