Most Americans consider partisan divisiveness a problem and want politicians to put aside differences and compromise, according to this Public Agenda/USA TODAY Hidden Common Ground survey of 2,219 American adults, fielded in August 2022. However, compared to previous Public Agenda surveys, a declining share of Americans believe it is very important to reduce divisiveness, and a declining share believe it is important to have better ways to understand the views and values of people whose political affiliations are different from theirs. Nonetheless, most Americans, with little difference by political affiliation, report trying to understand people whose political views differ from their own, and nearly half report having constructive conversations across political divides in the past twelve months.
Americans who are both religious and spiritual are especially likely to say they have tried to understand and connect with people whose political views are different from their own, more so than people who are only religious or those who are neither religious nor spiritual. Yet people who are neither religious nor spiritual are skeptical about religious people’s capacity to engage in constructive conversations.
- Americans who are both religious and spiritual–especially Republicans–say their beliefs influence their political views and voting. However, many Americans express concern about mixing religion or spirituality with politics.
- Most Americans see partisan divisiveness as a problem. However, most Americans think the extent of this divisiveness has been exaggerated, especially those who are both religious and spiritual compared to those who are neither.
- Although a declining share of Americans believe it is very important to try to reduce divisiveness, people who are both religious and spiritual are more likely to believe in the importance of reducing it, and of trying to understand people with different political viewpoints.
- Americans who are both religious and spiritual are more likely than those who are neither religious nor spiritual to say they have taken steps to understand and connect with people whose political views are different from their own.
- While people’s religion and spirituality may help them navigate challenging political conversations, about half of Americans are skeptical about religious people’s willingness to compromise and about whether they respect those with whom they disagree.
- Most Americans think religion and spirituality can play roles in bringing people together, but fewer think that making religion or spirituality bigger factors in American life would be effective ways to reduce divisiveness.