Poll Shows Partisan Animosity Has Deepened Since 2016

(CN) – Americans are showing more animosity toward members of the opposing political party, with the majority of both Republicans and Democrats saying those on the other side of the aisle are too close-minded, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

In a survey of 9,895 adults between Sept. 3 and 15, researchers used a “feeling thermometer” metric to measure respondents’ reception toward members of the opposing party. Seventy-nine percent of Democratic respondents indicated “cold” or “very cold” feelings toward Republicans, which is also 7% increase from May. Reciprocally, 83% of Republican respondents felt “cold” or “very cold” feelings toward Democrats, which has also risen 7% since the spring.

Delving deeper, researchers asked respondents more specific questions about why they felt a certain way about political opponents.

A 64% majority of Republican respondents felt that Democrats are more closed-minded than other Americans. Sixty-three percent said Democrats are unpatriotic, and 55% said they are immoral.

Small numbers of Republicans said Democrats are lazy and unintelligent – 46% and 36%, respectively.

On the other side, 75% of Democratic respondents said that Republicans are closed-minded. Forty-seven percent said members of the GOP are immoral, 38% said Republicans are unintelligent, 23% said they are unpatriotic, and 20% said they are lazy.

Democrats were relatively favorable to the GOP regarding patriotism, as 19% said Republicans were more patriotic than other Americans.

The data revealed a political schism that has been building in America since the end of the 2016 election cycle, wherein President Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

This phenomenon was made clearer when researchers asked respondents whether members of both major parties could agree on anything. Nearly three in four respondents (73%) said Republicans and Democrats “not only disagree over plans and policies, but also cannot agree on basic facts.” The remaining 26% said that voters from either party can at least agree on basic facts.

Majorities from both parties – 74% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats – also indicated that there was “a great deal of difference” in each party’s values.

Respondents were largely aware that the political divide is growing. Eighty-five percent of Republicans and 78% of Democrats said that divisions between them are increasing. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans felt at least somewhat concerned about the polarization, at 88% and 83%, respectively.

Though respondents on both sides acknowledged and affirmed the political divide, Democrats were more likely to say they wanted bipartisanship on various policy goals. A 58% majority wanted a Democratic presidential candidate who would focus on “finding common ground with Republicans on policies, even if it means giving up some things Democrats want.”

In contrast, 53% of Republicans said that they wanted President Trump to focus on “pushing hard for policies Republicans want, even if it makes it much harder to get some things done.”

The survey indicates that Americans have reached a clear consensus that the partisan divide is as wide as ever, but they are split on how to fix it.

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