A new poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC News shows Americans are slightly schizophrenic in their attitude toward politics. More people than ever before say they’re interested, even absorbed, with the politics of the moment, but less than a third believe in government’s power to address “long term challenges.”
An amazing 87 percent say “politics is important to them,” including 44 percent who say it’s “very important”—three times the percentage expressing similar sentiments in 1990.
Why are people so intrigued when they have so little confidence that our leaders can solve problems?
It could be that they’re afraid of government’s destructive potential, worrying more about its capacity to hurt than they hope for its ability to help. Another poll from Pew Research shows 85 percent agree “the tone and nature of political debate” has become more negative in recent years, and any honest observer should recognize the depressing, downward trajectory.