Poll: Americans worry tension in Washington will lead to violence

(CN) – Days ahead of the midterm elections, nearly eight in 10 U.S. residents worry the tone in Washington will lead to violence or acts of terrorism.

A Marist poll published on November 2 found that 79 percent of Americans – including 82 percent of likely voters – are concerned that the lack of civility in politics will lead to violence.

Further, 76 percent of likely voters say that political rancor in Washington has gotten worse since Trump became president. Forty percent of Americans blame Trump for the divisive tone in today’s politics, while 29 percent blame the media.

With midterms looming, 62 percent of likely voters say that they’re very enthusiastic about this election, up from 40 percent in late October of 2010. Eighty-two percent of those likely voters consider these midterms to be very important.

In the congressional elections, the Democrat on the generic congressional ballot has a 9-point advantage over the Republican.

This means more voters said they were likely to vote for the Democratic candidate than the Republican on their own ballots.

“Democrats have been ahead on the generic congressional ballot throughout this entire election season,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in an analysis of the poll’s results. “On Tuesday, the nation will find out if the Democrats have mustered enough votes to change the makeup of Congress or if President Trump has staved off his critics.”

Trump held a 41 percent approval rating in the poll, up slightly from 39 percent in early October. But a full 52 percent of those polled believe that President Trump’s responses to the pipe bombs recently sent out to high-profile Democrats was irresponsible.

Fifty percent believe that the media acted irresponsibly in reporting the pipe bomb incidents, and 40 percent blame media accounts for acts of domestic terrorism.

The poll concludes that “a plurality of Americans believe the president’s conduct is to blame for the political rancor in Washington as well as the recent onslaught of suspicious packages sent to critics of the president. A majority of Americans consider the president’s reaction to these incidents to be irresponsible, and half also characterize reporting by the media in the same way.”

The poll conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion surveyed 924 people between October 28 and October 29 of this year, of which 89 percent were registered voters and 55 percent said they were likely to vote.