Partisan Divide at 25-Year High

The Pew Research Center recently released a report on the growing partisan polarization in America.  Pew surveyed respondents for the past 25 years on 48 different political values measures.  Over the 48 questions, the average percentage-point difference between Republicans and Democrats was 18%, up from 10% a quarter-century ago.  Additionally, whereas other divides based on race, education, and income have remained stable, party differences have surged.  The issues that have contributed most to this increasing polarization are the social safety net, the environment, labor unions, equal opportunity, the scope and size of the government, and immigration.  The environment and the size of the government in particular have experienced the greatest shift in polarization; the percentage-point difference regarding the environment and size of government is 34% and 27% higher respectively than 25 years ago.  Perhaps this disparity is linked to another of Pew’s discoveries examining partisan identification.  When asked how they identify themselves, 68% of Republicans believed they were conservative, up from 60% in 2000. Additionally, 38% of Democrats felt they were liberal, up from 28% in 2000.
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