We’ve previously written how incivility negatively impacts political discourse and why we urgently need to turn things around (Gabrielle Giffords shooting highlights need for civility). Fortunately there are organizations such as The National Institute Civil Discourse that are focusing specifically on the problem of destructive political rhetoric.
A newly-released report highlights the extent of the public’s dissatisfaction with the current state. According to the results of the second annual Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate survey on this subject, nine out of ten Americans say that political candidates’ tone and civility will impact their vote in 2012:
The survey found that roughly 9 in 10 said “the way the candidate treats and deals with people he or she disagrees with” (90 percent) and “the candidate’s tone or level of civility” (88 percent) will play an important role in determining their vote for president in 2012. These figures reflect a sharp change in attitude. About two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) reported that in the past they had decided against voting for a certain candidate because he or she acted uncivilly.
Furthermore, “most Americans (91%) agree that incivility has negative consequences for America. Incivility in government is perceived to be harming America’s future, hurting its reputation on the world stage and preventing it from moving forward.”
Read the Executive Summary of last year’s report Civility In America: A Nationwide Study and this year’s full report Civility in America 2011.