red and blue

How bad is the state of political division in America? Here’s an indication: According to a recent FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, political polarization is now ranked as one of the worst issues facing the nation today.

Americans named “political extremism or polarization” as the third-most important issue facing the country, beating out fears related to immigration, racism, climate change, economic inequality, healthcare, COVID-19, taxes, terrorism and 10 other issues.

Only “inflation/increasing costs” and “crime or gun violence” beat out polarization as issues most Americans are worried about.

Respondents identifying as Democrat were the most likely to name polarization or extremism as a top worry, at 33 percent, but Republicans weren’t far behind, at 23 percent.

FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll shows political polarization is now ranked as one of the worst issues facing the nation today.

As for the cause for our current climate of divisiveness, an overwhelming 84 percent of Americans blamed politicians and political leaders. More than three-quarters (79 percent) also blamed wealthy political donors for America’s polarization, and the same number (79 percent) blamed social media companies, followed by mainstream media companies (78 percent).

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they believe conservative media outlets have had a “major” or “significant” impact on our current political division (81 percent of Democrats backed this statement, but so did a surprising 48 percent of Republicans).

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) said they want the U.S. to actively work to reduce political polarization. Only nine percent said they’re fine with the way things are.

FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll surveyed approx. 1,700 adults between late May and early June. Respondents were weighted to match the general population. The survey was conducted using Ipsos’s opinion research unit KnowledgePanel.