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SurveyMonkey

Watching media coverage, you'd think Trump is nearly alone in believing "both sides" share fault for the Charlottesville violence. Turns out, most Republicans have his back. SurveyMonkey findings, previewed first for Axios readers, for an online poll yesterday with 2,181 respondents.

Why it matters: These findings reflect the fact that, because of the nation's partisan divide and fractured media, we no longer agree on basic facts. That makes civil debate impossible.

  • When presented with a verbatim quote from President Trump on Tuesday ("You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent"), more disagree (53%) than agree (43%).
  • Republicans agreed, 87%-11%. Democrats disagreed, 83%-15%. Independents disagreed, 59%-39%.
  • Far more blame "the far right groups" for Charlottesville (46%) than "the counter-protesters" (9%), but a remarkable 40% concur with Trump's assertion that both were equally responsible.
  • "Beneath the surface, we see the same partisan division: Two-thirds of Democrats (66%) blame the far-right groups rather than the counter-protesters (6%), while Republicans overwhelmingly blame both sides equally (64%). About the same proportion of Republicans blame the far-right groups (18%) as the counter-protestors (17%)."
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Go deeper

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the need for the U.S. to confront China's aggression. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.