Politicians Are Seen as Some of the Worst Things About America

Most Americans are proud to be American, but aren't proud of America right now, reveals a new Ipsos/USA Today Poll

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC - Ahead of Independence Day, Ipsos and USA Today asked Americans about patriotism, the people, and the things that represent the country’s greatest qualities. Nurses, teachers, and being kind to strangers represent the best of America, according to the poll. 

When asked to rate several concepts, people, and professions on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being worst about America and 7 being the best, nurses were chosen as those who represent the best of America, scoring the highest mean rating of 6.0. Nurses receive high marks across the political spectrum, with Republicans (6.1), Democrats (6.0), and Independents (6.0) rating them equally high. Kindness to strangers is the top-ranking value and second-highest ranking overall (5.6), with Republicans and Democrats once again aligned (5.7 among both groups). The Founding Fathers, speaking English, and school teachers are also seen as some of the best parts of America, each with mean ratings of 5.5. 

When it comes to the worst of America, those in the political sphere take the lead. Politicians earn a mean score of just 2.7. Republicans (3.1), Democrats (2.7) and Independents (2.2) all report poor opinions about politicians. Political correctness (3.3) also represents one of the worst things about America for the general public. 

Specific politicians demonstrate deeply polarized opinions between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans believe that President Trump represents one of the better things about America (5.3), and Democrats believe he represents the absolute worst (1.9). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Democrats rank House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi more toward the middle (4.2), while Republicans consider her one of the worst things about America (2.1). However, Republican Senator John McCain scores slightly higher with Democrats (4.5) than with Republicans (4.0).

More than seven in ten (72%) respondents feel proud to be Americans, including 90% of Republicans, while only 61% of Democrats feel the same way. However, just four in ten Americans (42%) feel proud of America right now. Republicans still report higher levels of pride than Democrats, and the gap is wider when asking about the present moment. A strong majority (71%) of Republicans feel proud of America right now, while less than a quarter of Democrats (22%) agree. Most Americans (70%) feel fatigued watching the news, and this is one point where there is agreement across party lines.

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the USA Today from June 26-27, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,004 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 338 Democrats, 324 Republicans, and 213 Independents. 

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education. 

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,004, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5). 

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 6.1 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 7.7 percentage points for Independents. 

For more information about conducting research intended for public release or Ipsos’ online polling methodology, please visit our Public Opinion Polling and Communication page where you can  download our brochure, see our public release protocol, or contact us.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
[email protected]

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420 2014
[email protected]

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs

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