Mar 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Two Americas Index: 20% favor a "national divorce"

One in five Americans say they'd support a "national divorce" in which Republican- and Democratic-leaning states split into separate countries, according to new findings from our Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.

Why it matters: Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

  • One way to look at it is... 20% of the U.S. population is such a small share that it's nowhere close to moving the needle.
  • Or... it represents 66 million people! That's roughly equivalent to everyone in Texas, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska combined — and larger than the populations of most countries in the world.
Share of Americans who say they 
support the following scenarios, by party ID
Data: IPSOS and Axios Two Americas Index; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Zoom in: The national divorce provocation, floated by Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) in recent weeks, lacks majority support among every slice of the population surveyed.

  • But support for splitting up the United States was stronger among Americans whose primary source for news is Fox News or another conservative outlet (32%), and higher among Republicans (25%) than independents or Democrats.
  • Men, people who make $50,000 or less per year, and those living in states in the South and West also were more likely than their respective counterparts to support a split.
  • The survey also found that people who had not shared a meal in the past year with someone from a different political party were more likely to support a national divorce than those who had.

Overall, there was even less support for the idea of one's own state seceding from the union (16%) than for a national split into two countries (20%).

  • Only 12% of respondents said they'd be likely to a move to a state that wanted to secede, while 47% said they'd likely leave a state that tried to secede.

The big picture: Only 37% of Americans said they're optimistic about the state of our democracy.

  • 6 in 10 say the U.S. should actively work to reduce polarization — compared with 1 in 10 who favor letting things be and 3 in 10 who don't know what to do.
  • Nearly 2 in 3 Americans now say there's more that divides us than unites us.

What they're saying: "Americans’ deep political fault lines are clear and engrained in our psyche and politics," and talk of national divorce or secession "leaves us with a divided nation with little hope of reconciliation," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.

What we're watching: Asked who's driving polarization, respondents were four times as likely to blame "political and social elites" (61%) than "how ordinary Americans think and behave" (15%).

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 10–13 by Ipsos on its online survey panels in English. This poll is based on a sample of 1,018 general population adults age 18 or older, weighted on age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and location to be nationally representative.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
Go deeper