Animosity between Democrats and Republicans now Greater than between Whites and Blacks

Friday, September 28, 2012

When it comes to divisions between groups of Americans, Democrat vs. Republican is now greater than white vs. black.


According to a new academic study, “Republicans and Democrats increasingly dislike, even loathe, their opponents.” Using data from the American National Election Survey, researchers found Americans over the last 40 years have grown increasingly cold towards “the other party.”


“This trend portrays a growing animosity toward the other side,” wrote Claude Fischer, author of Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character, after reviewing the study in Public Opinion Quarterly. “Notably, the gulf in party temperatures is now wider than that between whites and blacks and that between Catholics and Protestants.”


Another sign of the partisan divide is found in responses to the question: Would you mind if your child married someone from another political party? In 1960, only 5% reacted negatively. By 2010, 40% objected to the idea, including 50% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats.


The authors of the survey, Shanto Iyengar, Gaurav Sood and Yphtach Lelkes, posit that the growing hostility has less to do with actual policy or ideological differences, but more to do with increasingly negative election campaigns that emphasize attacking the other side.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

The Polarizing Political Paradox Redux (by Claude Fischer, Made in America)

Affect, Not Ideology: A Social Identity Perspective on Polarization (by Shanto Iyengar, Gaurav Sood and Yphtach Lelkes, Public Opinion Quarterly) (abstract only)


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