With the primary season in full swing, and with the race for Congress in November heating up, the tone of the United States political discourse has sharpened, and most Americans find this troubling, according to a recent public opinion survey.
Commissioned by the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College, the poll found that although an overwhelming number of Americans want civility and compromise in politics, they believe that these values are not reflected in today’s political environment.
In particular, when asked if Americans should be proud or ashamed of the way elected officials handled the healthcare reform, 69 percent said "ashamed" and only 21 percent said "proud."
"We’ve taken a good look at what folks think about the political process and there is deep disappointment," said Daniel M. Shea, Allegheny College political science professor and the study’s lead author.
"Our study should be seen as a wake-up call for elected officials, media commentators and radio talk show hosts: Clean up your act—and fast," he added.
The survey found that individuals who follow political news on a regular basis are four times as likely to say that the tone of political discourse has gotten worse than those who pay only modest attention.