Lying Has Become More Acceptable in American Politics: Poll

The majority of Americans believe lying has become more acceptable in U.S. politics over the past few years, an exclusive Newsweek poll suggests.

The survey, which was representative of registered U.S. voters, suggested that 54 percent agreed with the statement that lying has become more acceptable in American politics in recent years. The poll, which was conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies for Newsweek, surveyed 3,150 adults over the age of 18between October 17 and 18.

Almost one in five (18 percent) said lying has become neither more nor less acceptable, while 13 percent said it had become less acceptable, and 15 percent said they did not know.

The poll also suggested differences in opinion between those planning to vote for President Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 election, and those planning to back former Vice President Joe Biden.

Of participants who said they have or will vote for Trump, 45 percent said lying has become more acceptable, compared with 67 percent of Biden voters. And while more than a quarter (26 percent) of Trump voters said lying has become neither more nor less acceptable, that figure dropped to 12 percent among Biden supporters.

According to a database maintained by The Washington Post, by July 9, 2020, Trump had made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims since taking office.

Following the presidential debate in late September, the Associated Press news agency reported that both Biden and Trump made numerous false claims. Newsweek has contacted the White House and Biden's team for comment.

Democrat-Republican divide

The poll also suggested similar patterns among those who voted Democrat and those who voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election.

Respondents who picked then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton were more likely to say that lying has become more acceptable in politics, compared to those who voted for President Donald Trump, at 66 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

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A stock image shows a toy donkey and elephant, representing the Democratic an Republican parties, on a U.S. flag. A poll has revealed people think it has become more acceptable to lie in American politics. Getty

Over a quarter (26 percent) of 2016 Trump voters said the behavior had become neither more nor less acceptable, versus 13 percent of those who chose Clinton. Meanwhile, 15 percent of Trump voters who took part said they did not know, compared with 9 percent of Clinton supporters.

Of those who did not vote in the last election: almost half (46 percent) said lying was more acceptable; more than a quarter (26 percent) did not know; 16 percent said neither more nor less; and 12 percent less acceptable.

When the poll results were broken down by age, it suggested that those aged 65 years old and above were most likely to agree that lying has become more acceptable, at 66 percent.

That figure fell steadily among all age groups. Among participants aged 18 to 24 year olds, who fall into the Gen Z age group, 43 percent agreed that lying has become more acceptable.

Almost one in five (19 percent) of 18 to 24 year olds said it has become less acceptable to lie in U.S. politics, compared with 15 percent of 25 to 34 year olds, 13 percent of 35 to 44 year olds, and 11 percent of those aged 45 and over.