Nine months after the United States re-elected President George W Bush there is more talk than ever before about how "divided" the nation is on key issues involving moral standards and international relationships.
Is the nation really divided? Is it more or less divided than at other times in the nation's history?
Think & Ask surveyed voters and used various polls to determine the extent to which the United States is or is not divided. In a random telephone interview of 923 adults in June 2005, 61 percent said that they recognized that the United States is divided. Seven percent in the United States were not sure, and 32 percent said that the United States is not divided on key issues. But nearly 80 percent said they'd hope the nation would either stay or come together to solve problems, and 42 percent said they would set aside their own moral values for a compromise on social issues.
However, in a random poll of 225 people in Europe 84 percent said the United States was united behind President George W Bush.
Fifty three percent polled by Think & Ask in the United States said the country is moving in the wrong direction, and 44 percent said they are satisfied with the direction of their country. Iraq is the biggest drain on resources said 31 percent, followed by education (27 percent,) and Social Security (22 percent.)
Of those polled who voted in 2004, (637 participants said they would answer) when asked whether or not they made the right choice for president in 2004, 41 percent said yes, 49 percent said no, 9 percent said they weren't sure. Of those who voted for President George W Bush, 36 percent said they "should have voted for Senator John Kerry," and for those who voted for John Kerry only 3 percent said they "should have voted for President George W Bush."
"Should the United States' presidential election adopt a national
primary one month before a general election?"
Seventeen percent of respondents weren't sure, but 43 percent said yes, and 40 percent said no. "If voting was simplified through mail-in ballots" the percentage changed dramatically with 73 percent favoring a primary presidential election one month before a general election.
Do voters "believe and trust" that the White House is true to its word? The answer is split, 51 percent said yes, they trust the White House, 49 percent said no. When asked if they feel they either should trust, or want to trust the White House, 77 percent said yes.
An accurate measure for all for the past 200 years is not possible for the simple reason that for the majority of the Untied State's history only white men voted and or counted in opinion surveys. It was not until the 1900s that women and later Black citizens were included.
Historical data indicated that during the Civil War, support for both President Lincoln and for the war itself fell as the death toll climbed. In polls conducted prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the nation was divided on whether or not to assist in fighting Germany. The attack by Japan on the territory of Hawaii was enough to rally support and join the world at war.
Divided on President
For the past 55 months, George W Bush has averaged a 61 percent approval rating from voters; however, that figure does not tell the whole picture, and while George W Bush once received the highest rating of any president by the Gallup Organization of 90 percent in September 2001, the majority of his term has averaged lower than other presidents after the late President Richard Nixon whose approval rating fell to 24.6 percent in 1974.
In terms of blocks of time however, George W Bush's ratings struggled to recover during his second term. George W Bush was the first president to be re elected with an approval rating of less than half -- at 48 percent. In the past 12 months, George W Bush's approval rating has only risen above 50 percent 16 times out of 38 polls (highest 57 percent) and did not reach 50 percent.
Conversely, former President Bill Clinton’s approval rating never fell below 57 percent, and his disapproval rating never rose above 37 percent.
Using polls to help determine whether or not the nation is divided, exit polls from the November presidential election, voters showed a clear moral reason to vote for President George W Bush. Moral and ethical reasons gave 54 percent a reason to vote for re-electing the president. Twenty-four percent used this reason to vote for John Kerry. The president received 45 percent for his stand on terrorism and homeland security, while John Kerry picked up 24 percent for this topic.
But clearer trends emerged from the 2004 election which may be a future indicator of trends. At one time in the United States there was a solid block of voters described as white, middle-to-upper class, married, and living outside traditional cities. But in coming years, that block will no longer be a majority as ethnic groups mingle, and suburbs grow into populated cities. The idea of "family" is changing too, with younger generations forgoing marriage and higher incomes to seek more individualized lifestyles.
When examining voting groups, the traditional support for President George W Bush will eventually become a minority.
Married men: 59 percent voted for George W Bush
Single men: 58 percent voted for John Kerry
Men voted: 53 percent for George W Bush
Women voted: 50 percent for John Kerry
Generational by age groups:
18-29 -- 55 percent John Kerry
30-44 -- 52 percent George W Bush
45-64 -- 54 percent George W Bush
65- + -- 55 percent George W Bush
Whites -- 57 percent George W Bush
Blacks -- 86 percent John Kerry
Latinos -- 54 percent John Kerry
Asian -- 64 percent John Kerry
(Census projects show that Blacks, Latinos, and Asian combined will outnumber Whites in year 2042.)
City dwellers -- 56 percent John Kerry
Suburbs -- 52 percent George W Bush
Small towns -- 58 percent George W Bush
Rural -- 62 percent George W Bush
Asked whether or not voters were "intimidated" in 2004?
Yes: 57 percent
No: 39 percent
Unsure: 4 percent
Moral and Social Issues
---Six in 10 voters believe Iraq's former President Saddam Hussein was somewhat or directly responsible for attacks on New York in September 2001 and more than half support the invasion of Iraq and continued occupation.
This is inline with President George W Bush's values and claims.
---More than half of voters approve of constitution amendments to make
the burning of the United States flag illegal.
---Three quarters of voters said the Ten Commandments should be displayed in Court houses.
This is inline with President George W Bush's claims.
---Slightly more than half of voters disapprove of marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
---Since 1996 the number of people considering themselves "Pro Choice"
has fallen from 53 percent to 48 percent (less than half.) Those in support
of Pro Life has risen from 36 percent in 1996 to 44 percent in 2005.
---Between 65-70 percent support the death penalty, a figure that hasn't changed much in the past 10 years.
These reflect the values and morals supported by President George W Bush.
The only moral issue that voters differ on from values held by President George W Bush is stem cell research with 63 percent support.
The only social issue that voters differ on with President George W Bush is Social Security with 62 percent disapproving of the president's handling of Social Security, and nearly 70 percent are uneasy with the president's approach.
Is this enough information to call the nation divided? With a majority rule -- democratic rule -- there appears to be no division as (minus stem cell and Social Security alteration) the majority is in line with the president despite his lower approval rating.
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