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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Imagine Watergate — or even the Clinton impeachment — in a country this divided.

The big picture: Americans no longer agree on just about anything, down to the level of who can be trusted to arbitrate truth from fiction or how to differentiate common sense from nonsense, according to a new AP-NORC poll.

Why it matters: Democratic institutions have long functioned on trust that is vanishing before our eyes, with the institutions looking similarly vulnerable.

By the numbers, per the poll: 47% of Americans say they struggle to determine whether information is true.

  • Democrats and Republicans both struggle with this process, although they turn to very different gatekeepers.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they often come across one-sided information and about six in 10 say they regularly see conflicting reports about the same set of facts from different sources, according to AP.

Between the lines: Democrats are more likely to say they rely on scientists and academics, while Republicans are more likely to trust what they hear from President Trump.

  • But majorities have little to no confidence in information they get about the government from social media, the president, members of Congress and businesses, the poll found.

Of note: The poll was conducted Oct. 15–28 of 1,032 adults using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel that's designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is ±4.2 percentage points.

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Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.

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