Tuesday, June 05, 2012

About that divide

American Values Survey
In my previous post, I mentioned what I think is an unbridgeable divide in US politics. I think that part of the reason for that can be found in the 2012 American Values Survey, just released by Pew Research Center.

The survey shows that polarisation between the two parties is the greatest it has been in the 25 years they’ve been conducting these surveys. But, then, we all knew that already, didn’t we? It’s not hard to find evidence of it, after all.

What we may not have realised is that while the partisan gap has grown dramatically, other gaps have remained relatively stable. Still, while Republican views on conservative issues—like religion and marriage/family—have remained pretty stable, Democrats and Independents have become more liberal and secular.

Still, the percentage of people identifying with either party is at its lowest point in 25 years, with the biggest number—38%—saying they’re independent. Democrats have 32% support and Republicans have 24%. Independents say they are moderate (43%), while 22% say they’re liberal and 30% say they’re conservative; these percentages have remained relatively flat for 25 years.

Click on the image above to go to a slide show on the Pew site, with some of the highlights of the survey (the complete report is also available from the Pew site). It makes for a fascinating snapshot of the US’ political landscape, and it offers a sneak peek at what’s behind the country’s deep political divide.

Update 6 June: The Daily Beast has posted "The Top Five Takeaways From Pew's Survey of the Electorate". Well worth checking out.

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