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Pew: Divide in America deeper than ever before

Americans see their nation’s Democratic and Republican parties separated by a wide gap, with “little optimism that the country’s political divisions will subside any time soon,” according to a new Pew Research poll.

The results come from a survey of the opinions of 1,502 adults on Jan. 4-9.

“Fully 86 percent describe the country as more politically divided today than in the past, while just 12 percent say the country is no more divided,” Pew reported.

Interestingly, only about 46 percent said that when Barack Obama became president in 2009, but the numbers started rocketing up the scale almost immediately.

“The current mood stands in stark contrast to January 2009, before Barack Obama took office. At that time, just 46 percent said the nation was more politically divided. But a few months into Obama’s first term, the share saying the country was more divided politically had risen to 61 percent.”

Pew Research said only 24 percent of Americans now expect the divisions to lessen over the coming years.

“In the near term, the public does not think the new Congress and administration will usher in a new era of political comity in Washington: By 61 percent to 29 percent, more expect Republicans and Democrats to bicker and oppose each other more than usual in the coming year than to work together more. Over the past few decades, the only times the public expected more cooperation than conflict in the year ahead were in January 2009 and in early 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks,” the report said.

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“When asked a more general question about the year ahead, public views are mixed: 49 percent think 2017 will be a better year than 2016, while 42 percent think it will be worse. Expectations for 2017 are about as negative as for any year over the last decade. Compared with a year ago, optimism among Republicans has surged, while views among Democrats have plummeted. Fully 83 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners expect 2017 to be better than 2016; a year ago, 44 percent expected a better year in 2016 than 2015. By contrast, just 24 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners expect a better year in 2017 (65 percent thought 2016 would be better than 2015).”

The report said the election of Donald Trump has benefited the Republican Party.

“While the 2016 elections have done little to brighten the public’s overall outlook or raise expectations for partisan cooperation, the Republican Party has seen its standing improve in the wake of Trump’s presidential win and the GOP maintaining control of Congress.”

While majorities in both major parties say it’s too early to say how the Trump presidency will unfold, the stark separation was clear, as 42 percent of Republicans say Trump will be successful while just 3 percent of Democrats say so.

“By contrast, 37 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners say he will be unsuccessful, but just 4 percent of Republicans say the same,” the report said.

The assessment found, to no surprise, conservatives are more optimistic about Trump’s tenure than liberals. And the GOP’s image has improved.

“For the first time since 2011, about as many have a positive as negative impression of the Republican Party: 47 percent now hold a favorable view of the GOP, compared with 49 percent who have an unfavorable view. The share who views the Republican Party favorably is up 7 percentage points since October and is 14 points higher than it was in April of 2016,” the report said.

“Ratings of the Democratic Party remain somewhat more positive than those of the Republican Party, though the gap in assessments of the two parties has narrowed. Overall, slightly more hold a favorable (51 percent) than unfavorable (45 percent) view of the Democratic Party. These ratings are about the same as they were last October,” the report said.

In addition to improved favorability ratings, the Republican Party, the report said, “has now drawn even with the Democratic Party when it comes be being seen as the party ‘more concerned with the needs of people like me.'”

“Overall, 45 percent say this phrase better describes the Democratic Party, while about as many (44 percent) now say it better describes the Republican Party.”

Nick Adams’ book, “The American Boomerang: How The World’s Greatest Turnaround Nation Will Do It Again,” is endorsed by the likes of Dr. Ben Carson, Glenn Beck, Dick Morris, Gov. Mike Huckabee and Dennis Prager