Protesters in Washington state Feb. 13, 2012 (Elaine Thompson/AP)
Seventy-eight percent of Americans polled for a Knights of Columbus-Marist survey (PDF) released Tuesday say they are "mostly frustrated" by the current tone of political discourse. A majority of Americans—56 percent—believe political campaigns lack civility and respect, and 66 percent believe candidates spend more time attacking their opponents than talking about issues.
"The American people want and deserve civility and a conversation on the issues rather than the personal vilification of political opponents," Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said in a statement. "As this current data makes all too clear, the American people want a political discussion that is civil and respectful. As Americans, we understand that we may not agree on every aspect of every issue, but we also understand that how we disagree says a great deal about who we are as a nation."
The poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe campaigns have become more negative over time. And 64 percent of Americans believe this negativity causes "a great deal" or "a significant amount" of harm to the country's political process.
Many candidates have decried the rise of super PACs, made possible by the 2010 Citizens United decision, citing it as the reason this campaign season has been markedly negative.
Tuesday's poll, conducted July 9-11 by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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