Poll: America’s partisan divisions are wider than ever

The partisan divisions that play out in shoutfests on cable news are infecting everyday life to a growing degree as Americans view their political opponents in an increasingly negative light.
Both Democrats and Republicans are more likely to ascribe negative attributes to their opponents today than ever before, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. The level of animosity between partisans has only increased since President Trump took office in 2017.
{mosads}More than 60 percent of Republican voters said Democrats are more closed-minded, and even unpatriotic, compared with other Americans, the Pew survey found. Fifty-five percent of GOP respondents said Democrats are immoral, and 46 percent called them lazy.
Among Democrats, 75 percent said Republicans are closed-minded, and 47 percent called GOP voters immoral. More than a third of voters on both sides — 36 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats — said those who belong to the opposite party are unintelligent.
Fifty-three percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats said the other party has almost no good ideas. Sixty-one percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats said partisans on the other side do not share many of their other values and goals.
Those numbers have increased virtually across the board from 2016, the last time Pew conducted a survey of partisan attitudes. The number of Republicans who see Democrats as immoral has jumped 8 percentage points in three years; the number of Democrats who see Republicans as immoral is up 12 points.
Even with partisan antipathy reaching record levels, those on both sides acknowledge the problem and said they are concerned. Where Americans once saw only minor divisions between the two parties, today 55 percent say there are major differences between what the Democratic and Republican parties stand for.
Eighty-three percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of all those surveyed said they are somewhat or very concerned by divisions between the two parties. And 73 percent of Americans said the two parties don’t only disagree about politics and policies, they cannot agree on basic facts either.
The heightened tensions seem more about opposition to the other party than loyalty to one’s own: Majorities of voters have broadly unfavorable views toward both sides. More than 60 percent said both parties are too extreme in their positions — and even 45 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats say their own parties go too far.
Fewer than half said either party governs in an honest and ethical way. Slim majorities said the Democratic Party represents people like them or cares about the middle class, but majorities did not say the same about the GOP.
The Pew Research Center poll, conducted Sept. 3-15, surveyed 9,895 members of Pew’s American Trends Panel. The survey carried a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.
Tags Donald Trump partisanship Pew Pew Research Center poll Survey
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