Roughly 20 percent of Americans, or around 66 million, support idea of a 'national divorce'

 March 17, 2023

A recent poll found that roughly 20 percent of the country, or around 66 million Americans, are at least somewhat supportive of the idea of a "national divorce," according to the Washington Examiner.

Such a "divorce," in which red-leaning and blue-leaning states would formally agree to split apart into separate nations -- ideally without sparking a violent civil war -- has been discussed by some in recent months as a growing number of Americans perceive the country's increasingly stark partisan differences to have become irreconcilable.

National divorce and state secession

The Ipsos polling firm, in conjunction with Axios, surveyed 1,018 U.S. adults between March 10-13, with a margin of error of 3.3 percent, and among other things asked respondents where they stood on the issue of a formal "national divorce" as well as the more generalized secession of individual states from the collective United States.

The pollsters found that approximately one in five Americans, or about 20 percent, were open to the idea of a formalized national split between red and blue states while more than three in four Americans, or around 77 percent, were opposed to a divorce.

Should such a split actually occur, only around 10 percent of Americans actually believed that things would improve in their respective states, such as the economy, public life and services, and protections for their rights, while a plurality thought those kinds of things would grow worse and the remainder, presumably, suspected very little would actually change.

Support was even lower, at just 16 percent, for the notion of a more generalized secession of individual states to break away from the U.S. and either form or join a new country, while individualized secession was opposed by 81 percent of respondents.

In fact, nearly half, or around 47 percent, said they would consider moving elsewhere if their state were to secede from the U.S., compared to 35 percent who would likely stay and 18 percent who were unsure what they might do.

Ideas favored more by Republicans and independents than Democrats

Axios reported that the results of the Ipsos poll could be viewed both positively and negatively, depending on one's perspective. Indeed, on the optimistic side, it is noted that 20 percent of Americans in support of a "national divorce" is a relatively small percentage and clearly far from being the majority or even a plurality.

That said, 20 percent of the nation is around 66 million Americans, which the outlet noted is roughly equivalent to the combined populations of "Texas, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia, and Nebraska."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the political affiliation of the current administration, there was a noticeable partisan difference in the level of support for both a "national divorce" as well as individual secession.

With regard to a "national divorce," that has the support of around 25 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents, and 16 percent of Democrats.

As for individual state secession from the U.S., that has the support of approximately 19 percent of independents, 15 percent of Republicans, and 9 percent of Democrats.

Dangerous talk pushed by "political and social elites"

"Americans’ deep political fault lines are clear and engrained in our psyche and politics," Cliff Young, the president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, told Axios, and any discussion of national divorce or secession generally "leaves us with a divided nation with little hope of reconciliation."

As for who is predominately behind the worsening partisan polarization, according to those polled, 61 percent cast blame upon the nation's "political and social elites" while only 15 percent attributed it to "ordinary Americans."

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