Poll: Majority say civility in political debate worsening

A majority of Americans say the tone and civility in political debate has been worsening in recent years, according to a new poll released Monday.

The CBS News poll, taken after last week’s shooting at a GOP Congressional Baseball Game practice in Alexandria, found 68 percent of Americans believe tone and civility in politics are getting worse.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters believe that the worsening tone is encouraging violence — like last week’s shooting. That number is also fairly consistent across party lines, with 68 percent of Republicans and 85% of Democrats believing so.

Still, the majority of Republicans and Democrats — 77 percent and 71 percent, respectively — see the other side as “people who disagree” rather than “a threat to (their) way of life.” A majority of Americans — 55 percent — remain optimistic that people with different political views can come together to work productively.

Congress also received a majority positive response from Americans for how it handled the aftermath of the shooting — with 53 percent of Americans approving. Slightly fewer, 46 percent, approved of President Donald Trump’s response. About a third of Americans considered the recent shooting — which injured five people and left Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise in serious condition — a terrorist attack.

The poll surveyed 1,117 adults nationwide, including users of landline and cellular phones, over June 15-18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.