Survey: Trump-Driven Polarization Reflects Divergent Views of America’s Future


Days before the 2018 midterm elections, a new survey from PRRI finds that partisans see two entirely different American futures. The survey shows Republicans’ vision for the country’s future is increasingly distant from the vision shared by Democrats and independents. And in the religious landscape, white evangelicals’ vision is distant from the vision of other religious Americans and the religiously unaffiliated.

The 2018 American Values Survey explores how this split between partisans impacts their views of President Donald Trump’s signature immigration policies, the country’s changing demographics, discrimination, racial justice, and the #MeToo movement, as well as diversity among elected officials.

More than half (54 percent) of Americans say they are absolutely certain to vote in 2018. While whites and blacks are equally as likely to say they are absolutely certain to vote, white men and black women stand out as more likely to say they are absolutely certain to vote (63 percent and 62 percent respectively). However, both black men and women (18 percent and 25 percent) are significantly more likely than either white men or women (10 percent and 9 percent) to report that all of their friends will be voting in the midterm elections.

Nearly half of those who say they are supporting the Democratic candidate in their district say they are doing so to oppose President Trump (48 percent), and similar numbers of those who are supporting the Republican candidate in their district say that they are doing so to support the president (46 percent). Seven percent of those supporting the Republican candidate in the midterms say they are doing so to oppose President Trump.

“President Donald Trump is unquestionably casting a long shadow over the midterm elections,” said PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “Attitudes toward the President appear to be driving not only the intensity of attitudes on key issues such as immigration and racial equality, but the likelihood of voting among groups such as African American women who are strongly opposed to the President and white men who strongly favor the President.”

Other Topics Explored

  • A Referendum on Trump’s Behavior as President
  • 1950 or 2045? Contrasting Partisan Visions of America
  • Broad Opposition to Restrictive Immigration Policies, with Democrats and Independents Aligned on One Side, Republicans on the Other
  • Partisan Divides Over #MeToo Movement


PRRI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. (PRNewsfoto/PRRI,The Atlantic)