The broad public consensus over the war on terrorism has done little to narrow the sharp differences between Republicans and Democrats over the direction of the country, the state of the economy or the performance of the federal government, according to a Washington Post national survey.
If anything, the poll suggests that the partisan divide on many key issues may be as great today as it was in 2000, when the country went through one of the closest, most bitterly fought and controversial presidential elections in its history.
The persistence of partisanship may be one reason why Americans are so cynical about the fall congressional election. According to the poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans expect this year's races to be no less negative and superficial than those in previous years -- one of the few areas in which equally large proportions of Republicans and Democrats did agree.
The survey consistently found Republicans to be more positive and optimistic than Democrats about the state of the country. GOP partisans were more satisfied with the performance of the federal government.
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