Rest assured. Even in a polarized electorate, people across the nation harbor sharp skepticism when it comes to Donald Trump building a wall or Hillary Clinton taking on Wall Street.
At least that’s one reasonable way to read a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday. Surveyors found widespread doubt that either major-party candidate-in-waiting could or would deliver on those major proposals.
Take Trump and his promised border wall.
Fewer than one in four voters surveyed said they believed that if elected, he’d actually get it done and have Mexico pay for it.
Fewer than one in five believe Trump would be able to kick out an estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally.
As for banning noncitizen Muslims from the U.S., 29 percent say he would succeed.
On the flip side: More than three out of five don’t believe Hillary Clinton would even try to “remove secret money from politics,” let alone get it done.
More than half think she would not even attempt to curb the power of Wall Street — aside from the question of whether she’d succeed if she tried.
“No matter which candidate you pick, you can cut the cynicism with a knife,” said Tim Malloy, the poll’s assistant director. “There are grand promises that stoke enthusiasm at rallies, and then there is reality.”
The questions and how they were answered prompt other questions.
After years of Washington gridlock, a number of those surveyed must have come to figure anything one party proposes gets blocked by the other — that maybe the president lacks the unilateral power to force his policies into effect.
Or there is a larger sense of the “other side” being powerful and that “our side” is not.
On partisanship, the Quinnipiac poll turns up some interesting contrasts for which possible reasons also invite analysis.
More than 9 of 10 Democrats approved of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job, while more than 9 of 10 Republicans disapproved.
There’s the polarization.
When all answers were combined — with independents in the mix — the tally showed 49 percent approved of Obama’s performance and 48 percent disapproved.
The shape of party differences seems to shift when the questions focus on Congress.
Seventy percent of Republicans surveyed said they disapprove of the way GOP members of Congress are handling their jobs.
At the same time, 66 percent of the Democrats surveyed said they approve of the way Democrats in Congress are handling their jobs.
Could this mean Democrats are displaying more solidarity? How relevant is it that both congressional houses are in the hands of the Republican Party?
Those questions — and how the congressional contests relate to the presidency — will linger as the general election season approaches.