The views of Americans of all political ideologies are remarkably consistent on this issue: The majority of Democrats as well as Republicans believe politicians “very often” or “somewhat often” adopt extreme positions to be noticed.
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Finally, there is something all Americans can agree on: US politicians are so starved for attention that they often endorse extreme positions just to be noticed.
They might be onto something.
For example, congressional districts across the country are now so gerrymandered that the general election has become essentially meaningless. Instead, it is the primary that determines who is going to be sent to Washington, DC. And, because it is usually the most die-hard supporters who vote in those primaries, candidates have to adopt more extreme positions.
Overall, 75 percent of Americans believe that politicians often publicly endorse such positions to gain attention even if they do not personally agree with them, according to a YouGov poll released Tuesday.
The views of Americans of all political ideologies are remarkably consistent on this issue. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats as well as 78 percent of Republicans believe politicians “very often” or “somewhat often” adopt extreme positions to be noticed.
The results are also consistent among different demographic groups, with at least 70 percent of white, Black, and Hispanic respondents agreeing that politicians behave in this way.
Somewhat surprisingly, young people were least disillusioned in this regard, with “only” two-thirds thinking that politicians take positions not in line with their personal beliefs. However, that might simply mean that young people think that elected officials do hold these radical positions.
Americans are less sure whether this type of behavior is beneficial.
Just over half of them believe that it is at least somewhat effective while one-third think it is not effective.
Democrats are most likely to think that adopting extreme positions to get attention works, while fewer than half of independents think that it does.
Finally, the YouGov pollsters also asked whether Americans agree with the adage that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, most Americans disagree with that statement.
However, Donald Trump is far from the only politician who has engaged in pretty outrageous behavior and rhetoric.
There are now many lawmakers who are better known for their stunts, rhetoric, and outrageous behavior than actually doing the jobs they were elected for.
Overall, fewer than one-third of Americans either somewhat agree or strongly agree that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Conversely, more than one-third of them strongly disagrees with that statement.