A new poll from Yahoo! News and YouGov reveals a disturbingly high percentage of Americans think the U.S. will "cease to be a democracy in the future."
And it isn't just Democrats who are feeling this particular brand of despair.
The poll showed that roughly equal proportions of Republicans and Democrats—53% to 55%, respectively—feel the end of democracy in the United States is imminent. Of course, who each of these groups blame for this pessimism is far more revealing.
But even when independents and the politically unaffiliated are factored in, the overall percentage stands at 49%, showing roughly half the country overall considers the United States something of a lost cause—a truly chilling statistic.
Of course, there were respondents among the 1,541 people polled who still feel optimistic about things—about 25% said they think American democracy will be just fine and another 25% said they were unsure.
But the poll gives new validity to the creeping dread many Americans have been feeling, especially since the far-right coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and the majority of Republicans' subsequent refusal to take it seriously or do anything about it.
Interestingly however—and even more chillingly—the poll reveals an America that is largely indifferent to the proceedings surrounding that insurrection.
The poll was conducted between June 10 and June 13—the days of the House select committee's first and second televised hearings about the events of January 6—and found just 24% of respondents watched the hearings.
That indifference to efforts to deal with the coup attempt would seem to underline the depth of despair Americans are feeling.
But as always with anything even remotely political nowadays, the story the poll tells changes dramatically when political party affiliations are taken into account.
Those on the right are shockingly disengaged from the January 6 hearings—just 9% of those who voted for former Republican President Donald Trump, 13% of Republicans and 22% of Fox News viewers have watched the hearings.
Those numbers skyrocket when left-wing affiliations are taken into account—47% of voters for Democratic President Joe Biden, 44% of Democrats and 52% of MSNBC viewers have been following the hearings.
Overall, a disturbingly low proportion of Americans even believe the committee's central claim—that the insurrection was part of a Trump-led conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. Despite the mountain of evidence, just 45% of Americans believe it.
So if we're so profoundly split about basic reality but relatively united in our despair about the future, what accounts for all the discord in this data?
Well by now you've probably guessed it—Republicans blame Democrats for the decline of Democracy, and Democrats blame Republicans. And in the case of Republicans, 43% even blame liberals for the insurrection, despite the total lack of evidence.
Which should make another of the poll's chilling findings unsurprising. Roughly half of all political affiliations—52% of Republicans, 50% of Independents and 46% of Democrats—think a second civil war is on the horizon.
If you're feeling sick to your stomach reading this, you're not alone.
People on Twitter were deeply disturbed by the poll's findings.
Some weren't surprised at all, however, and felt the poll was just putting numbers to things that have already been the unacknowledged status quo for quite some time.
Though some rejected the pessimism and took the poll as a rallying cry for the 2024 midterms.
Despite the poll's disturbing results, it did have one glimmer of hope.
The proportion of Republicans convinced the House committee would lie about its January 6 findings has declined by 12 points since the hearings began, suggesting there is at least some open-mindedness to reality.