Gallup Poll – 77% of Americans Perceive Nation as Divided

Record-High 77% of Americans Perceive Nation as Divided


Record-High 77% of Americans Perceive Nation as Divided
by Jeffrey M. Jones

Story Highlights

  • Previous high was 69% in 2012
  • 21% say nation is united and in agreement on values
  • Public split on whether Trump will do more to unite or divide nation

PRINCETON, N.J. — Seventy-seven percent of Americans, a new high, believe the nation is divided on the most important values, while 21% believe it is united and in agreement. Over the past 20+ years, the public has tended to perceive the nation as being more divided than united, apart from two surveys conducted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Trend: Perceptions of U.S. as United or Divided

The latest poll was conducted Nov. 9-13 after a contentious presidential campaign involving the two of the least popular candidates in postwar U.S. history, and as protests erupted nationwide in response to Donald Trump’s victory.

All major subgroups of Americans share the view that the nation is divided, though Republicans (68%) are less likely to believe this than independents (78%) and Democrats (83%). That is consistent with the findings in the past two polls, conducted after the 2004 and 2012 presidential elections, in which the winning party’s supporters were less likely to perceive the nation as divided.

Perceptions That Americans Are Greatly Divided on the Most Important Values, by Political Party
Republicans Independents Democrats
% % %
2016 Nov 9-13 68 78 83
2012 Nov 9-12 80 67 63
2004 Nov 19-21 59 70 70

Public Not Convinced Trump Will Unite the Country

Americans are split about evenly on whether Trump will do more to unite the country (45%) or do more to divide it (49%). These views largely follow party lines, with 88% of Republicans believing Trump will do more to unite the country and 81% of Democrats saying he will do more to divide it. Independents predict Trump will do more to divide (51%) than to unite the country (43%).

In the next four years, do you think Donald Trump will do more to — [ROTATED: unite the country (or more to) divide the country]?
More to unite More to divide
% %
U.S. adults 45 49
Republicans 88 10
Independents 43 51
Democrats 12 81

Gallup has asked this question on a few prior occasions, including in November 2004 after George W. Bush was re-elected, in February 2008 during the presidential primaries, and in November 2012 after Barack Obama was re-elected. Americans are less optimistic about Trump bringing the country together than they were about Bush and Obama in those instances.

By 57% to 39%, Americans in 2004 thought Bush would do more to unite the country than to divide it. Americans responded similarly about Obama in November 2012, with 55% saying he would unite the country and 42% divide it. Americans were even more optimistic about Obama bringing the country together (66%) when he was campaigning in the Democratic presidential primaries in early 2008.

As with Trump, perceptions of whether Presidents Obama and Bush would unite the country largely fell along party lines. But independents were more inclined to see Obama and Bush as uniters than they are to see Trump this way.

Would Elected Presidents Do More to Unite Than to Divide the Country, Previous Elections, by Political Party
More to unite More to divide
% %
Barack Obama (2012)
U.S. adults 55 42
Republicans 12 86
Independents 52 42
Democrats 92 6
George W. Bush (2004)
U.S. adults 57 39
Republicans 94 4
Independents 58 37
Democrats 21 76


Trump prepares to take office as a record number of Americans perceive the nation as divided and less than half believe his actions will help unite the country. Those perceptions may reflect his blunt speaking manner and sometimes divisive campaign rhetoric, though he did call for Americans to come together in his victory speech.

Obama and Bush made unifying the country key goals of their campaigns and administrations, and Americans perceived each as likely to do more to bring the country together than drive it apart. But each wound up having job approval ratings among the most politically polarized in Gallup’s history. That polarization may have resulted from the realities of partisan politics in Washington and the difficulty of bringing together a governing coalition that crosses party lines. It may also have resulted from the rise of new media as a forum for opinion leaders on the right and left to express their views and for Americans to seek out news coverage and commentary that fits their political predispositions.

Trump’s ability to unite the country is also handicapped by the limited goodwill he has from the opposition party. About one in 10 Democrats have a positive opinion of Trump, far less than the three in 10 Democrats who viewed Bush positively in 2000 and the roughly one in three Republicans rating Obama positively in 2008.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 9-13, 2016, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

3 responses to “Gallup Poll – 77% of Americans Perceive Nation as Divided

  1. Based on just about every outcome in the recent election, as Americans we are just about evenly divided on just about everything. Most outcomes were 45% – 51%, depending on the issue. You can’t get much more divided than that.


  2. The news media has actually ratcheted up the pressure.
    Making private data about members of the Electoral College public, so these Loony Liberals can send them threats has to be the worst yet.
    They did this sort of thing to licensed gun owners in NY.

    What makes these idiots think they are immune from being disciplined? Because Obama says so?

    I’m seeing a lot of Leftist articles using Southern Poverty Law Center as a source. I just stop reading because it is lies and distortions. Same for the AP.


  3. The Southern Poverty Law Center accuses anyone that deviates from the pure Leftist agenda as being a racist. If you stand for Gun Rights, you are a domestic terrorist.
    The source of all the divisiveness is Obama and his cabal of Radical Leftists that go “Full Alinsky” on anyone that disagrees with their Marxist Agenda or their Alinskyite methods. They are the ones intentionally teaching Class War and Race War. There demented Imigration policy is there to change the demographics of our nation and expand the Welfare State to the point of collapse. This is the Cloward Pivens Strategy, thought out by two Columbia University Professors in the 60s.These are Radical Communists whose goal was to “break” the US Govt, create chaos for the opportunity to create denand for Socialist state leading to One Party rule by the “Intellectual Elite” (Commie Professors) and “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” by a totalitarian govt.
    Capitalism is their enemy because Capitalism can raise people out of poverty and dependency, which is necessary for their strategy to work..
    Modern Marxists know that Violent Leninist Revolution will not work in the USA. Here the “Working class” and even the “poor country people” are better armed than their followers and “cannon-fodder”.
    They dare not take their riots into the rural areas, because they will be killed if they attack citizens and destroy property.

    Why do Lib/Prog city govts allow Street Gangs to exist? Their Police know who they are and where they are. That is why they don’t allow “Profiling” because these are their “Strike Troops” in their War on Guns. But the People have figured that out!

    FDR said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident.” He should know, he was 2nd and most powerful Marxist President. Woodrow Wilson was the first, but mostly maneuvered into it. JFK was mostly tricked into it domestically by the Liberals, but was anti-Communist and pro-American at heart. He was killed by a Communist but the Lib/Progs blamed it on guns and Conservatives.. LBJ was just an opportunist con-man, a ready felloe-traveler for the socialists as long as it didn’t affect him. Jimmie Carter was Socialist and failed miserably. Bill Clinton was fairly successful as a Marxist president, because he was likeable and many Conservatives saw him as an immoral buffoon. He has made a huge fortune as EX-President. And he is an Elitist wannabe.
    Obama is the first really “wide open” Marxist but PC protected him because he was half Black. But he was Marxist on both sides, a true Red Diaper Baby.
    Hillary would have been worse. She is of a criminal mindset, more devious than Obama, and playing Feminism (larger potential following) rather than race. She is an Elitist, a Globalist, and part of the worst of the One World Govt Oligarchs. She makes only a bare pretense to any of the “supposed benefits” of Socialism, only the wielding of naked power, criminal cronyism, and the constant pitting of one group against another. Demonizing and destroying any potential “Enemies” even before they are even against her.
    Thank God she was defeated. But Trump must have a very successful Administration or there will be another like her in 4 years.
    Elizabeth Warren is waiting in the wings.


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