Issues & Insights

I&I/TIPP Poll: Are We Becoming The ‘Divided States Of America’ Under Biden?

The argument. Created by: Mohamed Hassan, licensed under Creative Commons public domain (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/).

Americans are perhaps more divided than ever when it comes to President Joe Biden. A new I&I/TIPP Poll shows that a plurality of Americans believe Biden has become a source of partisan political division in our country, as a steadily widening political and cultural rift continues to grow.

The data come from October’s I&I/TIPP poll, conducted online by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The latest sounding of opinion was carried out from Sept. 29-Oct. 2, with responses from 1,308 adults, providing a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Among the questions asked: “Which is closer to your point of view?” Respondents were then given three possible responses: “President Biden is living up to his promise to unify the country,” “President Biden is stoking partisanship and division,” and “Not sure.”

And what do the data show? Some 40% of those responding agreed that Biden was “stoking partisanship and division,” while 37% said he was living up to his pledge to “unify” the country. A sizeable 23% said they were “not sure.”

But still, a number of groups diverged in the degree to which they embraced the idea of Biden dividing or uniting America along political, cultural and racial lines. Those splits might well have political consequences in 2022, with a key midterm congressional election looming.

Once again, as with many recent poll results, a distinct split can be seen among the major political parties and independents. Just 16% of Democrats felt Biden had become a divisive president, compared with 73% of Republicans and 46% of independents.

Meanwhile, 66% of Democrats said he was living up to his pledge to unify America, versus just 10% of Republicans and 26% of independents.

By ideology, self-described conservatives (60%) and moderates (37%) were more than two-times as likely as liberals (19%) to say the Biden is a source of “partisanship and division.” That’s still one out of five liberals.

The reverse is also evident, as liberals (67%) credit Biden as a unifier, compared to just 26% for conservatives and 33% for moderates.

Race was another split. Some 46% of white respondents agreed that Biden stoked partisanship and division, while 33% felt he’d helped unify the nation.

But responses from blacks and Hispanics showed that Biden has a widening perception gap within those two key Democratic voting blocs that are often lumped together in the media.

Roughly 41% of Hispanics thought Biden was divisive, while an equal share thought he had unified America.

That was twice the level for black respondents, with just 19% of African-Americans believing that Biden was dividing us, with 44% of blacks saying they felt he was a unifier.

In short, almost across the board, Americans are so disunited they can’t even agree whether Biden is a unifier or divider.

That shows up clearly in a companion data series, the TIPP Unity Index. Of those responding, 68% said the U.S. was either “somewhat” or “very” divided, versus just 28% saying the country was “united.”

Virtually all major demographic groups were over 50% on this reading, perhaps showing that the only real unity among voters is the feeling that we are sharply divided.

Indeed, it’s one of the few questions with such near-unanimity among all groups. A majority of groups agree America is divided, whether it’s white (73% say we’re divided) or black/Hispanic (59%), male (63%) or female (72%), Democrat (55%) or Republican (80%) or independent (75%), young (68% of 18-24 year olds) or old (83% of those over 65).

TechnoMetrica converted the raw responses to a compact index to compare demographic segments and track unity over time.

The index ranges from 0 to 100.  Higher numbers indicate greater unity, while lower numbers indicate decreased unity. 50 is a neutral value.  Above 50 indicates unity, while below 50 indicates division.

This month marks the seventh month of the index’s tracking.

The I&I/TIPP data come at a time of rising sentiment among many Americans that our political system no longer works to resolve national differences among the many demographic and geographic entities that make up our body politic. Instead, in a Woke world driven by progressive politics, the old political certainties that defined the U.S. have been upended.

Whether Biden is a unifier or a divider is an open question, of course. But based on Biden’s plunging popularity, as evidenced by a recent IBD/TIPP Poll, it’s clear his election-year pledge to “unify” Americans has not been fulfilled, to say the least.

“Some nine months into his tenure, it’s evident that Biden’s unity pledge ranks with former President Barack Obama’s campaign whopper, ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,’ which won him PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2013,” wrote Debra Saunders at the Real Clear Politics website.

Recent news and feature pieces raise the possibility of a permanent rupture of American political unity, one that could possibly even lead to a breakup in the U.S.

It’s not idle chit-chat. Talk of a “Cold Civil War” has become, if not common, troublingly all-too frequent. A recent Google search for the term “Cold Civil War” yielded 215 million hits. Will Americans save themselves from a bitter, uncivil political divorce?

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute

3 comments

  • To be honest, we are not one country anymore. The Left frequently and openly wishes for the death of those to the Right of them. I view them as TWANLOC, and would not be at all upset if California and New York fell into the ocean. It would improve the country.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • The main take from this article is 37% of people asked are far left and 23% are idiots. Sorry but anybody can see we are not more united in any way shape or manner. We haven’t been united in decades. We are basically 2 countries now with at least 2 views on what America should be. I say at least 2 because the left has any number of ideas for the Country and none of them are good

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