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.

threat

“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.

Silos

“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. So..live 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

    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.

  • landofaahs

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

  • JOHN HUSS

    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.