Interest in November’s elections is at an all-time high compared to past midterms, but voters are also hugely polarized, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans saying their political opponent’s views pose a threat to America “as we know it,” a poll released on Sunday found.
In a startling insight into the stark political divisions in the country, 81% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans believe that the agenda of the opposition party puts American ideals in peril, the NBC News poll found.
The survey also showed that large margins of Americans from both parties would still vote for their candidate even if confronted by reports that the person had moral failings that were inconsistent with their own values.
Democrats, by 49%, said they would still pull the lever for the candidate from their party in order to keep a Republican out of office, while 14% said the revelations wouldn’t change their opinion.
Among Republicans, 47% would stick with the GOP candidate to deny a Democrat the win, and 20% say it wouldn’t change their opinion.
Only 6% of Democrats and 4% of Republicans would vote for the other party’s candidate in that scenario.
With just 16 days until the elections, voter interest is high, with 57% of Americans saying it is “more important” than past elections — a 5 percentage point increase from October 2018 and a 13 point jump from before the 2010 midterms.
Another 37% deemed this year’s midterms “equally important,” and only 6% said it is “less important.”
Democrats had a 1 point advantage over Republicans a little more than two weeks away from Election Day (47% to 46%) — a slight gain after the poll showed the parties even in September.
Among Republicans who want their party in control, 59% said they just want their candidates in the majority, while 39% said they’re voting to prevent Democratic control.
Among Democrats, 48% want their candidates in Congress, while 52% said they are against Republicans being in the majority.
Voters also said their top issues were threats to democracy (21%), jobs and the economy (19%), cost of living (16%), immigration and the border (10%) and abortion (9%).
Crime polled at 5%, climate change at 7%, health care at 5% and guns at 4%.
President Biden’s job disapproval rating has remained mired in the 50s and matches the 52% rating he got in the poll a year ago, but an increase from the 48% he received in August 2021.
His 46% to 43% negative to positive rating among voters puts him ahead of the Democratic Party (48% – 38%), the Republican Party (50% – 34%) and former President Donald Trump (55% – 34%).
The poll surveyed 1,000 voters between Oct. 14-18.
It has a plus/minus 3.1 percentage points margin of error.