Forty Five Percent, Sixty Eight Percent, Twenty Two Percent discussed on On Point with Tom Ashbrook | Podcasts


So there's been a lot of talk about threats to to american democracy this summer but it turns out americans have very different ideas about what those threats might be a new survey suggests that for some the big threats include the increasing political power of the very rich to control government and foreign governments interfering with elections but others are more concerned about media bias than russian election meddling the new survey comes from the atlantic and the public religion research institute and suggests that americans are now more than more divided than ever so joining me to discuss this from washington is robert jones he's the ceo of the public religion research institute who administered the survey robert jones good to have you thanks for joining us hi thanks anthony also with us from washington atlantic reporter imigran whose article about the survey results is out today immigration good to have you thank you for joining us thanks for having me so let me start with you robert what's the biggest takeaway from this poll that you'd like to highlight well i do think the divisions in the country that are not just political they're also racial is one of the things that just stands out in particular when we're looking at really threats to our democracy in threats to our voting system in particular and you know the bridge finding from the conversations you've been having is a question about outside interference by foreign governments now overall it looks like there's only forty five percent of the country that says this is a major problem with our election system but if you look under the hood a little bit that forty five percent goes in two very different ways politically so only twenty two percent of republicans but sixty eight percent of democrats say this is a major problem so on this topic and i should be cleared this survey was in the field prior to the the press conference yesterday so this is where the dial was set prior to this conversation but that's a nearly fifty percentage point gap between republicans and democrats on their perceptions of how big a problem mm outside interference by foreign governments in our electoral system is and that carries over to a number of other things you mentioned media bias and influence a wealthy individuals and here again the two political parties are really mirror images of one one another on the influence of wealthy individuals and corporations eight and ten democrats but only four in ten republicans say that's a major problem but when you get to media bias against certain candidates it completely flips only about four in ten democrats but about eight and ten republicans and eight and ten white evangelical protestants by the way also say that media buys is a major problems we have this just real divide in in the country so essentially groups of people will be looking at the exact same set of facts but come to very very different conclusions yeah that's right i think that is one of the real challenges here you know you think about i mean democracies are kind of fragile things and they depend on at least a baseline of consensus on some basic facts and and really the arguments are only productive when they are really working from at least a baseline set of understandings and i think one of the real worries in threats here is that on many many of these very important issues americans whether they're democrats or republicans or whether they're white or african american are seeing two very different realities so evergreen let me come to you and tell me about your article which is out this morning if i have that correct how did your reporting supplement this survey's findings give us a sense so what we see in this survey are two very different stories about the state of american democracy in general sense of pessimism perhaps from both republicans and democrats conservative liberal but more broadly just a different sense of what's ailing us as.

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