Americans see the country’s angry political debate as ‘a big problem’

On this one, Americans are united: They are tired and sick of being so divided.

The inaugural Public Agenda/USA TODAY/Ipsos poll found Americans think that the divisive national debate over just about everything has convinced many that the country is heading in the wrong direction even as their own lives are going well.

The ones surveyed said social media, national leaders, and the news media have exacerbated and exaggerated those divisions, sometimes for their own benefit and to the detriment of ordinary people.

More than 9 of 10 said it’s important for the United States to reduce that divisiveness. Figuring out how to have a constructive conversation with folks on the other side would be a good start, most said.

Lynn Andino, 53, a nurse and political independent from New Rochelle, in the New York City suburbs, said, “The hardest thing with the climate in the government is, you turn on the news, they can’t even sit down and have a discussion; they can’t work out anything.” “They storm out; this one said that; it’s tit-for-tat; I’m going to throw mud at you; you’re going to throw that mud back. It’s like they can’t even work on anything.”

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