New poll shows political polarization in daily life as bad as polarization in Washington D.C.

We all know polarization in Washington D.C. is bad, but how much of a role does polarization play in everyday life? According to a new study from the Pew Research Center entitled “Political Polarization in the American Public,” self-identified liberals and conservatives prefer to associate and live near fellow partisans. Moreover, partisans deeply distrust people from the other side of the aisle. On radio this morning, Glenn expressed his concerns about the results.

“Liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans. I know, I moved to Texas. They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint,” Glenn said. “The result isn’t just polarized politics, but a divided society where liberals and conservatives are increasingly kept apart. A nation divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Pew study is based on a survey of 10,013 Americans, and, as Pew explains, the results demonstrate “the level of antipathy that members of each party feel toward the opposing party has surged over the past two decades.”

In keeping with that theme, the study finds that a third of all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believes Democrats pose a threat to the nation’s well being. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents view Republicans the same way.


“I can’t believe those numbers are that low, quite honestly,” Glenn said. “I put both of them in that category. I put the Republicans and the Democrats as a threat to this country. Neither of the parties are protecting the Constitution. Neither one.”

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The statistics Pew produced in regards to the correlation between living preferences and partisanship are particularly interesting.

According to the poll, 23% of “consistent liberals” would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a conservative. Likewise, 30% of “consistent conservatives” would be unhappy if a close relative married a Democrat.

married outside of party

When it comes to communities, 28% of Americans believe it is important to live in a place where most people share their political views – with conservatives favoring homogeneity more than liberals. In regards to associating with friends and acquaintances who share the same political views, 35% of Americans believe it to be important.


“It makes sense to hang out with people that are like you. This forced diversity thing is ridiculous. People naturally congregate with people they are comfortable with,” Glenn said. “But we should challenge ourselves to open up our minds. We should change ourselves, but only in this way: I’m not going to be friends with Harry Reid. But I’m not going to be friends with John Boehner either because I think both of them are dirt bags.”

Ultimately, Glenn believes content of character – not politics – should be the determining factor when it comes to whom we choose to associate with.

“The thing that I unite on: Are you a decent person? Do you have integrity? When you see the truth, will you move around that truth,” Glenn asked. “All I care about is the truth, honor, and integrity. If that’s you, then we need to talk. We need to stand side-by-side. If you are about politics, I think you’re part of the problem.”

See the full Pew Research poll results HERE.

  • OKCupcake

    Wake up Glenn–Conservatives/GOP have “given in” to Liberals. Liberals ALWAYS get what they want no matter what is good for the country. They chip away at life as we know it and to put your head in the sand and not see this you are giving in. Liberals and the bigest example in OUR WH not finding middle ground is never EVER going to change. It is not in their DNA to do anything else but stubbornly dig in and wear us down. in your fantasyland where we all get along–we have learned then biggest lesson in the past 6 years if we don’t dig in there will not be a USA.

    • landofaahs

      Stand up for what you believe in and call them like you see them. Contention is much better for society than silence.

  • landofaahs

    It wouldn’t be so contentious if everyone would just agree with me. I think both sides think that way most of the time. I don’t care who agrees or disagrees with me as long as what you believe does not impinge upon me. Live your life and speak your mind. Even if your wrong, it’s better for our society to stand up for what they believe in rather than be silenced by fear.


    You are seriously dense. ‘Let’s stand together. Unless you’re a dirtbag and I don’t like you.
    Then you are the problem. Everybody can agree with me. Why can’t you?’
    WTF?? Do you really not comprehend basic societal norms?

  • Anonymous

    Like this show and the rest of the conservative-media-entertainment complex hasn’t assisted in the polarization of this country.

  • Anonymous

    I live in a town that believes wholeheartedly in statism. We have people who disagree here, but of course they’re in the minority, and I often see those of the statist bent telling them to move out of town: “If you don’t like it, leave.” They don’t see this town as a place that is progressive. They fully accept the notion that “This is a progressive town.” They see the city gov’t as a progressive advocacy organization, in addition to the typical duties of enforcing the law, paving the roads, etc. What’s disturbing about this is they do not see it as a representative body, though it is organized that way. We vote for members of a city council, but increasingly the differences between them are small, and increasingly they’re making major decisions without opening them up for public discussion. We have a law in this state that some matters re. debt and taxation must be voted on the ballot, but the political atmosphere here doesn’t really like it. Anytime the city asks for money, 9 times out of 10 they get approval for it. I suspect we have the makings of an oligarchy. People here see city gov’t as a means to an end, almost like an NGO with police powers (the best kind!).

    Meaningful political discussion here is practically non-existent, because there is an overriding expectation that any political discussion is illegitimate. Sure, people express their differences in POV, but those who differ are ignored, except by those who disagree with the “norm” here. So any discussion is little more than a debating society. No one’s mind is changed, and everything is SNAFU.

    Given this atmosphere, there have been times when I have seriously thought about moving somewhere else. Right now I kind of like the idea of living someplace where everyone agreed with me, but despite my inclination, I think what would be better is a place where people *can* disagree, and that disagreement *means* something, where people can discuss ideas, and change minds, given a robust, reasoned argument.

  • Mudpie

    Let’s divorce : )

  • Marie Claire

    Glenn I respectfully and emphatically descent. Political positions are COMPLETELY character related….(or rooted in deep ignorance which is quickly rectified when presented with facts)….Right and wrong are EXCLUSIVE of each other. Law is based on moral or anti-moral ideals. Freedom for bad behavior means restriction for good behavior and vise versa….so do you think we have more freedom now? I challenge you to think this through and let your pet immoral people fall…..You aren’t required to hate anyone, quite the opposite, but let the truth do the judgment without standing in any ones defense….

    • RegistrationIsForLosers

      1) Can the moderator please delete the SPAM posts?
      2) We can get along so long as statists stop trying to enslave the rest of us. It’s not just unreasonable to expect us to befriend those who wish to enslave us, but it’s downright dangerous. I have no desire to spend time with those attempting to enslave and destroy. That’s like an African befriending the Islamist slavers who are attempting to enslave their entire village. We have a duty to love our neighbor, and f you love someone, you try to convince them to stop their wickedness, if they’re attempting to enslave their neighbor.

      It’s the Christian thing to do, to declare truth to power, and to friends, and to attempt to convince them to support liberty, while NEVER giving the enemies of our liberties a single nanometer. Give them a nanometer, and they’ll enslave and murder those they see as their inferiors.

      • Liberty For All

        ditto…the arguments on either side or not equal arguments and there is a fundamental flaw in perspective.

        I would love Glenn to make this self evident, by having two people stand next to one another and each has a short conversation.

        One person would argue that nothing is more fair than keeping/spending what we earn, and work individually or by mutual cooperation, to improve the quality their my own life, as well as everyone’s life.

        The other person would agree of course, with the caveat that, if there is disagreement in how to improve the quality of life everyone (fairness, save the planet…), then they shall disarm you, force you to comply, and force you to hand over a growing percentage of what you earn to pay for it, oh, and not to mention, labeling you a terrorist because of your “beliefs”.


  • davidmpark

    When asked what my political identity is I say I’m a “#$%&”; only concern is my wife and kids. But, I do say my loyalty is to the Lord, Jesus Christ because when it came down to it for all those years, He was the ONLY friend and father there for me. Besides, never been the party type.

  • RegistrationIsForLosers

    Alex Jones is a nutjob and a friend to Communists (Hugo Chavez, Code Pink, etc.), and is NOT CREDIBLE. He’s NOT a Constitutionalist, not to mention a 9/11 ‘truther,’ just like Van Jones, the self-proclaimed COMMUNIST, was (a founding member, no less). Alex Jones is a huckster and a fraud. He continuously bags on Glenn Beck due to jealousy and insecurity.

    • landofaahs

      Then Glenn should quit stealing Alex’s material.

  • ken.

    even george washington and other founding fathers knew that political parties were a bad idea. they always become infiltrated for corruption and they always become concerned more for the parties interests, instead of the countries interests. time to dump the corrupt and self serving parties and vote single candidates and issues, not party line politics.

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    Patriots: Defend liberty from the ideological highwaymen in our midst:

  • Jose Rodriguez

    Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to build the shining city:

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Glenn for turning American against American. You are a wonderful provocateur. Stir the pot, then run away from the kitchen while the pot boils over… Great job Beck…Obama is an evil, communist, radical Christian, Muslim, remember… Democrats are “mentally ill”… yep, Glenn you are responsible for the pain we are still feeling today. Had it not been for you and Faux News, our nation would be much better for it today.

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