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RC Poll Reveals Division, Distrust


Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

Article Written by David Hall


Virginians are deeply divided by party lines, especially in regards to the media, according to a recent poll from Roanoke College’s Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.


The institute, headed by public affairs professor Harry Wilson, conducted its survey of 616 Virginia residents between Feb.12 and 18 for the purpose of gauging their sentiments towards the most recent events in politics. One of the biggest takeaways from its results was general dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in office.


According to the poll, 32 percent of those surveyed approve of Trump’s handling of the job while 50 percent disapprove. These results mostly fall in line with national trends. According to Fivethirtyeight, a statistics-based news website, when those numbers get broken down by party, the results show that an overwhelming 83 percent of those who self-identify as Democrats disapprove of Trump’s performance while a near equally stark 73 percent of Republicans approve.


Also shown is a growing feeling of mistrust of the government that permeated throughout the 2016 campaign. Trump won on being an outsider and regularly and viscerally criticized Washington bureaucrats, going as far as calling the election rigged on several occasions. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed in the Roanoke College Poll said they believed the government in Washington can be trusted only some of the time while 18 percent said that the government can never be trusted.


When the poll inquired about the media, similar results surfaced. Respondents said they do not have very much or any trust in the mainstream media.


However, Virginians showed some optimism as well. A majority (56 percent) believe that the country’s best years lie ahead despite widespread fears and following an election that made many on both sides feel disillusioned.


The poll’s margin of error is +4 and it was conducted via phone, including both home and cell phones.