A new Pew Research Center study suggests political partisanship is at an all time high.
The study consisted of 10,000 individuals and showed a stark contrast in how Democrats and Republicans feel toward each other. More than 90 percent of both Republicans and Democrats were to the right or left, respectively, of their median counterparts. The study also shows the amount of people who consistently express conservative or liberal positions more than doubled from 10 percent to 21 percent in the last two decades.
“Partisan animosity has increased substantially over the same period,” the poll states. “In each party, the share with a highly negative view of the opposing party has more than doubled since 1994. Most of these intense partisans believe the opposing party’s policies ‘are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.’”
The divide doesn’t end at just politics. Both liberals and conservatives are more likely to say most of their close friends share similar political views, to want to live around others with similar views and to share their house with those with the same ideology.
Capitol Hill is not immune to the divide either. The polarization has led to the least productive Congress ever, with seemingly no real signs of bipartisanship in the near future.
Even during the Republican Revolution of 1994, the parties were still able to amicably work together despite being split on key issues. In fact, conservatives and liberals both moved towards the center during this time. The study concludes since 2004, the drift has simply become too wide.
However, this sentiment is not the majority. It only reflects the views of what is described as the “politically active.” Most Americans want to see more bipartisanship and overlap within the parties.
“The majority do not have uniformly conservative or liberal views,” the poll states. “Most do not see either party as a threat to the nation. And more believe their representatives in government should meet halfway to resolve contentious disputes rather than hold out for more of what they want.”