Alarming new data shows that nearly a third of Americans would support splitting country up into ‘regions.’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In a year filled with civil unrest and the deepest political divisions in recent history, America is coming together on one issue — COVID-19 relief in the form of continued stimulus checks. A new survey finds generous financial recovery plans win bipartisan support from voters across the United States. Unfortunately, Republican and Democrat voters show bitter divides on most other political issues. In fact, three in 10 Americans say their differences are so irreconcilable they support their state seceding from the U.S.
According to a poll by political science research project Bright Line Watch, voters in both major parties support the passage of a new COVID-19 relief bill. Across the board Americans want another round of stimulus checks as long as the economy continues to suffer from coronavirus restrictions. Researchers looked at how Americans view a hypothetical politician who supports $500 billion in pandemic relief in comparison to someone who opposes it. Republican voters choose the candidate supporting COVID relief money by 11 points, independents by 12 points, and Democrats by 18 points.
“We’ve seen Democrats and Republicans in Congress at times compete to provide more generous offers of aid and assistance. The public seems to largely agree that the government should provide more help given the economic circumstances Americans currently face,” says Bright Line Watch co-founder Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College in a university release.
2020 election and Trump impeachment divide the nation
While Americans agree on the need for stimulus checks during the pandemic, the events surrounding the 2020 presidential election and President Trump’s subsequent impeachment continue to divide voters. Researchers find just 22 percent Republican respondents have confidence in the integrity of the 2020 election results. That’s far less than the 42 percent of Republican policy experts polled by the survey.
“In a democracy people basically have to trust that the rules are fair and that if their party or their team loses, the stakes of that loss won’t be intolerable, that in the future they’ll be able to contest an election again, and that they’ll have a chance of winning. That keeps everyone committed to democracy and to playing by the rules,” explains Bright Line Watch co-founder Gretchen Helmke from the University of Rochester. “Once you break that faith—that elections actually determine who the winner is—people’s allegiance to democracy wanes.”
The group conducted their survey right before the start of the 2021 Senate impeachment trial of former President Trump. Despite moving into the Biden administration, researchers say their results show the U.S. “still lives in the shadow of the Trump legacy.”
Overall, the poll finds Democrat voters trust the 2020 election, support disqualifying Trump from running for office again, and believe the 45th president should face criminal prosecution. Republicans, on the other hand, distrust the election results and favor moving on without further legal action against Trump. Moreover, voters for the GOP now oppose Republican politicians who side with Democrats on these issues. Independents remain split.
Seceding from union a welcome idea to many
“Until recently, we would have regarded it as too marginal to include in a survey. But state legislators in Mississippi and Texas and state GOP leaders in Texas and Wyoming have openly advocated secession in recent months, prompting us to design two survey items to gauge perceptions of this idea,” the researchers say.
The survey finds the political divide in America has gotten so bad 29 percent of voters would entertain the idea of spitting the country into smaller regions. One in three Republican respondents support their state seceding from the union.
Overall, just 21 percent of Democratic voters also support secession however, the idea is even more popular on the left in areas where Democrats hold power. The pollsters caution that these results come from the gut reaction of voters in the survey. Since voters did not have the ability to look carefully into the consequences of breaking the U.S. into five hypothetical regions, they urge the public to take their findings with a grain of salt.