A new poll finds that most Americans are frustrated by the tone of political campaigns this election year.
The July 2012 survey also found that a strong consensus of Americans believes such negative campaigning is ultimately harmful to the political process.
Nearly eight in ten Americans say they are "frustrated" by the tone of political campaigns and almost three-quarters say they believe the problem is getting worse. 74 percent believe that the tone of political campaigns has "gotten more negative" than in past election years.
According to the poll, Americans think that opponents spend too much time criticizing each other and not enough time addressing the issues at hand. 64 percent say negative campaign ads "harm the political process" either "a great deal" or "a significant amount."
And by a nearly 20 point margin, the public says the tone of political campaigns is "mostly uncivil and disrespectful." That number grows to 59 percent among registered voters.
"The American people want and deserve civility and a conversation on the issues rather than the personal vilification of political opponents," said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
"As this current data makes all too clear, the American people want a political discussion that is civil and respectful," said Anderson. "As Americans, we understand that we may not agree on every aspect of every issue, but we also understand that how we disagree says a great deal about who we are as a nation."
Anderson's 2010 book "Beyond a House Divided" chronicled previous surveys that showed a broad dissatisfaction concerning the political process among the American people, while finding that on many issues, there is far more unanimity of opinion among the public than is generally acknowledged.
The telephone survey of 1,010 adults was conducted from July ninth through July eleventh. It has a margin of error within +/- 3.0 percentage points