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chart on partisan divide compared with gender, race, class and religion
While the partisan divide has nearly doubled,
divisions among Americans in other areas have
remained about the same. The second-largest
 change has occurred on matters of class.
In a wide-ranging survey of trends in values, the Pew Research Center has found Americans to be more polarized along partisan lines than at any time in the past 25 years. The average partisan gap has nearly doubled from 10 percent in 1987 to 18 percent in the new study. The authors state: "Party has now become the single largest fissure in American society, with the values gap between Republicans and Democrats greater than gender, age, race or class divides."

Overall, Pew found "much more stability than change across the 48 political values measures" that it has tracked since 1987.

Nearly all of the increases have occurred during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. During this period, both parties’ bases have often been critical of their parties for not standing up for their traditional positions. Currently, 71% of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say their parties have not done a good job in this regard.

With regard to the broad spectrum of values, basic demographic divisions – along lines such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion and class—are no wider than they have ever been. Men and women, whites, blacks and Hispanics, the highly religious and the less religious, and those with more and less education differ in many respects. However, these differences
have not grown in recent years, and for the most part pale in comparison to the overwhelming partisan divide we see today.

chart on partisan differences showing 25 year change
Partisan splits have opened up the most over the social safety net, immigration, the environment and the role of the federal government. Self-identified Democrats in the survey have moved left and Republicans right.
“Republicans are most distinguished by their increasingly minimalist views about the role of government and lack of support for environmentalism,” the study’s authors write. “Democrats have become more socially liberal and secular. Republicans and Democrats are most similar in their level of political engagement.”
On environmental matters, stark differences have appeared. Pew first asked questions about the environment in its values survey two decades ago. Then, almost no partisan difference showed up. In the 2003 survey, however, Republicans and Democrats averaged a 13-point difference. In the latest survey, that gap over environmental protection has grown into a chasm 46 points wide. Republicans themselves have dropped from 86 percent in favor of stricter environmental controls in 1987 to just 47 percent now. By contrast, 93 percent of Democrats favored stricter controls in 1987 and 93 percent still do.

On measures regarding the social safety net, Democrats and Republicans are also far apart. On one measure, whether the government should help needy people even if this means adding to the national debt, the divide between Democrats and Republicans is 45 points. The difference also shows a 35-point difference over whether the government has a responsibility to care for the poor and whether it should feed the needy and ensure everyone has a roof over their heads.

On all three of these measures, the percentage of Republicans agreeing that aiding the poor is a government responsibility has fallen to 25-year lows. Today, just 40 percent of Republicans agree. In 1987, 62 percent agreed. Most of the change—18 points worth—has occurred since 2007.

While partisan polarization has crescendoed, another trend has been occurring simultaneously.

While Republicans and Democrats have been moving further apart in their beliefs, both groups have also been shrinking. Pew Research Center polling conducted so far in 2012 has found fewer Americans affiliating with one of the major parties than at any point in the past 25 years. And looking at data from Gallup going back to 1939, it is safe to say that there are more political independents in 2012 than at any point in the last 75 years. [...]

Currently, 38% of Americans identify as independents, while 32% affiliate with the
Democratic Party and 24% affiliate with the GOP. That is little changed from recent years,
but long-term trends show that both parties have lost support.

The study also looked at views regarding business, labor, the rich-poor divide, religiosity, traditional and "family" values, censorship, gay teachers, civil liberties, foreign policy and global involvement, particularly military involvement. For instance, a majority says Wall Street makes an important contribution to the nation, but a larger majority views it as greedy. And almost two-thirds of Americans say police should be required to get a warrant to search houses of people who might be sympathetic to terrorists.


Here is where you can read the entire 164-page survey [pdf]

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm more polarized since Polaroids. (9+ / 0-)

    Where are these people in the middle? Ive always been a Democrat.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:03:00 PM PDT

  •  Democrats in the survey have moved left? (18+ / 0-)

    That's what I find hardest to understand. It seems that nowadays Democrats are mostly advocating for things that used to be part of the middle-ground consensus-- you know, preserving social security, the importance of roads and schools and very mundane stuff like that. Who on our side is trying to push the envelope in a leftward direction?

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:07:42 PM PDT

  •  The American public has followed the parties. (6+ / 0-)

    The parties used to be much less differentiated than they are now. Southern Democrats were more conservative on social issues than northeastern Republicans. There was little difference between the two parties on foreign policy during the Cold War.

    The parties have gradually evolved more different positions than one another and people have shifted over time into the party that more accurately reflects their own views. Many argue they still aren't far enough apart, but they're clearly farther apart than they were 40 or 50 years ago.

    It's got its downsides, but it makes more sense than the earlier system.

  •  It's posts like this that make me in favor of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just segmenting off the country and letting those who want to follow Republican policies go to certain states and those who want to follow Democratic policies go to others.  After 20 years, a generation, people could then choose to change if they so desired.  I'll bet (because I'm progressive) that the blue states would have people who are far better off than those in the red states in all meaningful measures (lifespan, wealth, happiness, quality of life, etc).

    However, I wouldn't put it past red states to muck with blue states because pollution, rivers and wildlife don't respect borders, so I could see red states setting up polluting power plants upwind of blue states, but right at the edge, as well as sewage pipes, coal slurry containment ponds and oil wells just offshore but up-current from blue states so that any spills should go into blue state waters.

    Bitter?  Yes, for what I feel they're doing to our country in their race to be mean, greedy selfish bastards.

    OK, time to step away from the screen...

    •  I I were Abraham Lincoln, I would have (0+ / 0-)

      kept up the naval blockade of the former Confederacy until they staved, while bringing anyone--regardless of race--into Union states who wanted to come.  I would have drowned them in their own hatred, the freaking rebels.

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

      by commonmass on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:21:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Until they starved, typo, sorry, n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

      by commonmass on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:21:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IOW, the Civil War was a mistake? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Matt Z

      I've often been of the same opinion. The Southern mentality is certainly wreaking havoc on the country right now.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:22:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Allowing the South back into the Union (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Demi Moaned, Matt Z, lostinamerica

        was a mistake. A terrible, terrible mistake.

        Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

        by commonmass on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:25:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  enabling the south to roll back reconstruction (4+ / 0-)

          and the voting rights protections for black voters, was the mistake. if the laws were left in place, and defended as strong as the union fought the war, the south would not be what it has become.

          both parties betrayed the south by letting a minority faction restore the status quo ante in part if not in full, after the 1880s.

          •  No, humanity betrayed istelf in abandoning (0+ / 0-)

            Reconstruction. It was disgusting.

            Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

            by commonmass on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:51:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The North wasn't really all that much better (0+ / 0-)

            towards blacks. There were abolitionists but the Civil War wasn't really about slavery. Most people in south did not own slaves.... The war was about state rights being paramount over federal rights. I would have been an abolitionist (well I like to think I would have been). The whole damn stupid freaking situation was those same types who now choose to treat others as disposable animals below thier level... Maybe in the  revbolutionary war they were royalists.... But those who live in the south have to go along to get least if you had vociferous relatives willing to kill you to support some mans right to own another human life... It is tough to give up all the people you have ever known and lose all those you might call on in need... There are loyalty tests in authoritartian societies... you meet thier loyalty requirements and you are absolved from much that the disloyal and disobedient are punished for... a convenient way to gain even more subjugated lower classes to use and feed on.

            It is still a fight over what standards should be enforced and how far the law should go. The republicans favor one direction ... controlling individual sexual and reproductive acts, denying anyone but whites a right in any say, and maintaining control by the power elites. Democrats frequnetly use law to control social behavior too. Neither is pure and if it is you ox being gored you can get pretty testy. But the rhetoric is sometimes twisted in its effort to justify your position.

            I read today about this idea that Obama is a socialist... Most experts scoff at it but the meme has legs because it is being pushed just like the great liberal name blackening (by the usual suspects Limabaugh and the gang). The republicans are better at this because thier philosophy is go for all you can get without regards for the damage in human lives it leaves... that is thier problem and tough.  I think thier fav phrase is "Don't ask just take it and then apologize afterwards". After some version of this they laugh like they got away with something... It is an attitude that appeals to emotional children who are not necessarily dumb... just ruthless in thier selfishness.

            Proud Slut...Fear is the Mind Killer

            by boophus on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 02:18:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  this is absurd and ignorant (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the north and antebellum south were not pretty much the same, slavery was a big fucking difference, and it was, in fact, the main reason why both sides fought the civil war. go and read the debates of the time, in the south and in the north, they're not ambiguous. the right the south claimed the states should have was the right to have slavery, and ignore any federal law that contradicted that peculiar institution.

              none of your comment refers to reconstruction or the south's removal of voting and civil rights after reconstruction, which is what the post you replied to was about.

              and that's not even getting into the content-free platitudes of "both sides do it."


              •  I am not saying that the issue wasn't slavery. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I am saying that the issue was pushed by the south as it is today based on thier willingness to bend to a national will. They claim state rights. The federal government claims that the union requires that federal laws must supercede state laws in order to form a more perfect union.

                Then the republicans threaten to secede so that they can do whatever beastly freaking thing they want to do. England managed to end slavery as did many other countries without the hangover. Here we had to go to war to settle the states rights issue as to whether the union can be rendered incapable of having a national position on important issues or must shatter because some jerk has to have things his way.

                Do you not see that the same thing is still being fought with some of our societies richest elite thinking that thier lives and thier drive to accumulate supercedes all others interests and needs. So they are attempting to buy state houses to pass laws that once again threaten our stability as a nation.  They manipulate using inherent fear of the other, fear of being left out of the economy and fear of being forced to accede to behaviors they find abhorent. Do you not see that slavery is still being fought for? See the prisons where black men are locked up at higher rates for crimes that whites go free for... Now the prisons are being turned to "for profit" cheap labor corporations.  

                Some one else commented about letting the red states secede... And from what I have read approx 20 red states have made that threat.  But then someone else commented about how many of the problems we face flow across borders... WE are at war for our union once again even if it is in the partisanship that renders actions nearly impossible. THe Civil war is being fought again in DC with the first barrage from the Republicans being obstructive.

                Obviously was not being clear. It is always a battle between those who feel they should be able to do with others (not just blacks but women, children, gays, indians, jews, Mexicans,...) as they please. If you listen to those who are rampaging in Arizona they speak of illegals and states rights but what they are really after in white straight Christian male dominance in all issues economic.

                But since you chose to rage at me and slot me into some category that you apparently find reprehensible then I guess there is really no conversation possible. Isn't that what the diary was really about? The inability to get beyond the weakness of language and previous history of arguments used as weapons to attack positions.

                As for the anger about what was perceived as an equivalence argument I will say this. When blacks moved north they found treatment that was pretty freaking bad. I see slavery as far worse.  Then I think of that professor arrested on his porch because he was black.  I think of watermelon jokes and birthers in the north. I remember the black neighborhoods, the indian neighborhoods, the china towns, ... growing up in Minnesota many years after the civil war and the "other" still suffered.

                THERE IS NO EQUIVALENCE but the norths hands are not clean. I have lived in blue states all my life and seen what happens to those who are not considered worthy of being treated like human beings. Federal rights have to supercede state rights just as the society has an interest in how people are treated in families behind closed doors. Borders are open and the evil done in one state flows to others. We are one freaking nation... Not fiefdoms of powerful families and men.  

                To me that is what the civil war was about... Powerful men convincing others of thier right to have a small section follow thier own rules not the nations rules in order to benefit them.  I say you want the benefit of being part of a greater unit called a nation then you have to follow a common idea of interacting with the "other".

                Oh never mind. EOD

                Proud Slut...Fear is the Mind Killer

                by boophus on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 04:48:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  How many f**king times does this... (5+ / 0-)

              ...garbage Civil War revisionism have to be debunked before it stops appearing on this site?

              Read the damn secessionist resolutions. Read the Cornerstone Speech. And stop listening to neo-Confederate lies, the same lies I was taught in my Georgia school days five decades ago.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 02:50:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  A "mistake"? Like the Union was slave-friendly! (0+ / 0-)

          Not allowing the South to reunite would have been a horrible decision.

          We could lop off the South and still the majority of the states would be hostile to marriage equity. In fact, it would just make those smaller prairie states even more stronger.

          "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

          by sebastianguy99 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 03:57:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Analysis of internal data shows GOP batshit crazy (11+ / 0-)

    I've been working with this data quite a lot today, and Pew is exaggerating how much Dems are shifting.  Kohut keeps mentioning Dems are becoming more secular.  That statement is based on Dems response to "do you ever doubt the existence of God" which has declined among Dems from 90% to 76%.

    Keep in mind a large majority of Dems still believe in God, but this is his main evidence of Dems becoming more liberal.  If you really look at the data, most of the movement is among Republicans.

    The following three questions are stark illustrations of that trend.  The framing by Party leaders is having an effect on their base.

    1.    Labor unions are necessary to protect the working person (Agree): D=82%; R=43% (Disagree=54%).  This represents a significant historical shift in just the past 3 years (GOP did agree prior to 2009)

    2.    There needs to be stricter laws and regulations to protect the environment (Agree): D=93%; R=47% (Disagree=52%).  There has been significant erosion on this question among Republicans just in the last 3 years, from 64% agree in 2009, 86% agree in 1992.

    3.    People should be willing to pay higher prices in order to protect the environment (Disagree): R=71%; D= 40% (Agree=58%).  Significant historical movement here (GOP Agreed by 68% in 1992)

    I am a professional pollster

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:11:04 PM PDT

  •  They think this is a divide? LOL. Just wait 5 to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Matt Z

    10 years.

    One in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder, or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. ~ Chris Hedges

    by Saint Jimmy on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:16:03 PM PDT

  •  Republicans changed, not Democrats (5+ / 0-)

    The only thing that Democrats changed in is religion and empathy for minorities. We're far less religious than we were. But that's a global trend. We're just following a natural global trend. We're also far less racist than we were. But that's also a global trend.

    The other changes that have divided the country are Republican changes.

    They no longer believe that environmental issues like pollution are something that need attention.

    They also don't think that government should help the poor as much as they used to.

    Republicans changed in ways that are the result of corporate propaganda.

    Democrats changed in ways that are natural and simply reflect the way humanity is changing.

    And that's not really change. That's just evolution, and it's change only in so much as that kind of change isn't really a change - it's always happening.

  •  This schism, of course (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Matt Z, kitebro

    is entirely the fault of the Republicans.

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:23:04 PM PDT

  •  The political division has one root cause: (8+ / 0-)


    Simply put, the cultural identifier for Republicanism is being a white bigot. If you're a white bigot, you will be a Republican 99% of the time.

    Broadly speaking, this is the true source of the divisions between the parties. There is a racist Republican Party that is also ultra conservative. There is a Democratic Party that is tolerant, but somewhat more conservative. And then there is the other half of the Democratic Party that is liberal and tolerant.

    And then there is a small sliver of true "swingers" who generally just go with whomever they like.

    •  so distasteful to bring up race! tsk, tsk...n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  I would say race is a correlate (0+ / 0-)

      but not the root cause, not the "true source of the divisions".

      The primary difference at the root of almost all of the differences, in my opinion, is the difference between a preference for a dominator society or a partnership society. And a preference here is also related to genetic predisposition and socialization as well as how the brain becomes wired after birth (through experience).

      Even within religions today this split is apparent. Between the nuns and the bishops of the Catholic Church, for example. Between the religious fundamentalists and the religious liberals (like Jim Wallis, etc.).

      The White Male System (Schaef) of many western nations is:

      God (male)
      Men (white)
      Women (white)
      Children (white)

      People of color were categorized by dominant white males as somewhere in the middle of the dominator hierarchy. And gays, oh my! At every level, people are subordinate to those above them and dominant over those below them.

      The first and major sin in this hierarchy is ALWAYS DISOBEDIENCE TO THE HIERARCHY ITSELF. Think of original sin, in Genesis. Disobedience!! (and to the hierarchy)

      Think of all of our social issues. So much involves decisions over sex, life, death, and WHO GETS TO DECIDE. Who has ultimate power? The individual? Women? Gays? Heaven forbid!! Call a committee of white men together to make the decision. Based on THEIR interpretation of THEIR GOD'S will, of course.

      For most of us here, this hierarchy is no longer acceptable, if it ever was. We strive for the right of individuals to make decisions for themselves and for previously oppressed social groups to share in the benefits and the opportunities of our society.

  •  I think this survey is correct (5+ / 0-)

    and that it's a bad thing for our country.

    More and more, the country is divided into left and right, and both think the other side is either evil or stupid.  That doesn't make for any governing by consensus or any working together to accomplish things important for the country.  How can you possibly compromise with the other side if, in your view, anybody who is on the other political side is either evil or stupid?  That's what I think the polarization is doing -- today, more and more, we don't simply disagree with the other side.  We have to completely demonize them and characterize them as having no credibility at all, not even worth talking to.  

    We are seeing less and less of "I think he's a reasonable, intelligent, honest person, we simply disagree on political philosophy or on what policy is best for our country."  And I think that's a bad thing, long term.  

    •  coffeetalk - there is a great book on this topic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, coffeetalk

      A few days ago Bill Moyers had on his show Johnathan Haidt, the author of "The Righteous Mind", a book on this exact topic of how we will never come together if each side believes the other is evil and stupid.

      I have downloaded the book on my Kindle, and am looking forward to reading it.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 01:39:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It think the "stupid" and "evil" aren't true... (3+ / 0-)

      ...and aren't helpful. But I am personally uninterested in compromising with people don't believe in equality along racial or gender or sexual orientation lines. I am not interested in compromising with people who think corporations are people but labor unions are not and should be destroyed. I am not interested in compromising with people who work to keep others off the voter rolls. I am not interesting in compromise for its own sake.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 02:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you interested in compromising (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with people who think that the federal government should play a smaller role in the daily lives of people? with people who think that the federal government's control over the economy should be return to historical averages in terms of percent of GDP? With people who believe that too much in the way of government regulations has negative unintended consequences?  With people who think that the federal government too freely spends taxpayer money? with people who believe that the more federal control, the more the loss of individual  freedoms? Who think there's a limit as to how much in federal income taxes should be paid by people who work for a living?  

        Those are all the things I hear from economic conservatives and/or libertarian types.  I consider them reasonable people with a specific view of the role of the federal government.  Some would vote for Democrats who are left on social issues, but are more centrist on economic issues.  However, they find fewer and fewer people like that whom they can support.  Would you be open to compromise with people like that?

        I think there are SOME reasonable, thoughtful positions on both sides -- and I can recognize a reasonable, thoughtful position even when I disagree with it.  Increasingly, however, I see people who characterize all on the other side as extremists that have no position with considering in any kind of compromise.  (Increasingly, and sadly, I see those same economic conservatives / libertarians immediately dismiss all people on the economic left as socialists.) And I think that's destructive.  

        •  Yes. I am willing to compromise on some... (4+ / 0-)

          ...issues you mentioned. Because I agree that there are reasonable people on both sides of some issues. But the polarization IS greater than in the past, and most of that has to do with a rightward shift. I should compromise with that? To what end?

          I am not willing to compromise with people who are now intent on reducing income taxes on the uppermost reaches of wealth to 25%. Because that "compromise" is just one more step toward the flat tax they really desire, that they have been arguing for since Reagan introduced the two-bracket system (revised to a handful by Bush I and Clinton). Why compromise with this effort to increase income inequality even worse than it is?

          I am unwilling to compromise on matters of environmental protection as long as there is no willingness to include "externalities" like pulmonary disease from pollution.

          I am unwilling to compromise on reproductive freedom.


          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 03:09:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've always been curious, maybe (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1, LarryNM

          you can elucidate...

          with people who believe that the more federal control, the more the loss of individual  freedoms?
          How precisely does this work in your life?  Please be specific.


          Kick apart the structures - Seth

          by ceebee7 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:52:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, and a question (6+ / 0-)

    Was hoping someone here would dig into this.  

    On NPR last night and in the Post today there was great emphasis on the increasing partisanship. "The right has moved further to the right and the left has moved further to the left."  In the examples that I saw cited though the percentage change on the opinions of self-identified conservatives was very high; and I didn't see the numbers on the left that matched it.  I looked pretty thoroughly at the Post piece and while numbers were disclosed on the conservative swing on the safety net and the environment questions, the ones where liberals moved didn't seem to include reference to the numbers.

    Did you see that trend? And isn't that important in how we think about and talk about this survey?

    If -- as I believe -- it isn't a matter of "both sides have gotten more partisan" but a matter of "conservatives have gone off the deep end, and "there's been a bit of a change in liberal opinion as well," isn't that a critical distinction?  I hate false equivalencies, and I smell one here.  

  •  Paraphrasing: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, jpmassar, lostinamerica

    Democrats evolved, with the rest of humanity.

    Republicans devolved, because corporations told them to and they're dumb enough to go along.

    Question: Is evolution really change? My understanding is that evolution is always occurring, so isn't it the real state of normalcy? Isn't evolutionary change really a form of human stasis?

    If you think about humanity's genetic code as the real humanity and human beings as vessels designed to carry that humanity forward, I would propose that evolutionary change is really how humanity remains in a state of balance, in so much as it is able to.

    I would propose that devolution is in fact the real form of change in this respect, because it's unnatural and occurs due to social or cultural sicknesses.

    What can Democrats do if Republicans not only refuse to evolve with the rest of humanity but actually choose to devolve?

    I contend that it isn't Democrats who have changed (we're always evolving, because we believe that's normal), but rather Republicans. 100% Republicans.

  •  the Fairness Doctrine................ (5+ / 0-)

    Was enacted in 1949 to give equal time to differing points of view. Unfortunately, the FCC scrubbed it in 1987. I have never been a math major but that is 25 long years of one sided dialogue on our public airwaves.

  •  RIP Fairness doctrine 1987- tis the radio and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica, Larsstephens

    many of the analysts of this study will ignore it, same as usual

    Gonna hear a lot of analysis of this study by people who think talk radio is for idiots an therefore should be ignored. Yeah radio is for idiots but these idiots are killing us

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Jun 05, 2012 at 04:41:11 PM PDT

  •  Odd (0+ / 0-)

    that polarization is at its peak at a time when the political parties have never been more in agreement on foreign, national security, and economic policy.

  •  I watched an interesting foreign film (0+ / 0-)

    not too long ago------------- titled "Twin Sisters."

    It explores the different mentalities-----ideologies----and belief systems that can occur  ...........politically...between two people who share the same roots.

    Based on 1942 in Nazi Germany and in Holland-------- it examines the lives and the opinions of twin sisters----separated during their early years-----and the attempts at re-connecting---both with very different experiences--------and beliefs.

    The film is in subtitles.....but it is thought provoking...and asks more questions than it answers.

    Excellent film.

    "Power is a fleeting thing. One day your souls will be required of you." Bishop Peter Storey---Central Methodist Mission, Johannesburg, June 1981

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:33:19 AM PDT

  •  Score one for the DFH wing of the party (0+ / 0-)
    both parties’ bases have often been critical of their parties for not standing up for their traditional positions. Currently, 71% of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say their parties have not done a good job in this regard.
    Centrists please take note.
  •  But the biggest reason is not because Dems (0+ / 0-)

    have gone far left, its because the Repugs have gone off the cliff right!

  •  There's a lot of confusion in (0+ / 0-)

    the comments, and it mostly stems from the failure to separate two distinct concepts: policy polarization and partisan sorting.

    Everyone seems to be reading the graphs as evidence of policy polarization -- that is, the typical Democrat is moving to the left on policy issues and the typical Republican is moving to the right. This leads to comments like "how is this possible? Democrats have actually moved to the right on economic and foreign policy," etc.

    However, the graphs aren't equipped to measure polarization. Instead, they are showing partisan sorting: liberals are more likely than before to identify as Democrats, and conservatives are more likely than before to identify as Republicans. With the conclusion of the Southern realignment (and the blowback that made Northeastern Republicans switch to Democrats), the parties are better aligned with their ideologies. But that's not at all inconsistent with both parties moving to the right on economic issues, for example.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:27:43 PM PDT

    •  And, there's more to it than that, actually (0+ / 0-)

      The "people who agree that the govt. should take care of people that can't take care of themselves" issue to democrats and republicans has beliefs that are polar opposite.  Democrats believe that people that are poor, indigent and in most ways not self sufficient should be taken care of by the govt in very big numbers.  Republicans question why many people that are indigent and poor or otherwise supposedly unable to take care of themselves in the first place and believe many of them are just living off the government teat.  

      So, this graph is kind of misleading in that respect.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 05:41:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some thoughts on the safety net graph. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SquirmyRooter, ZedMont

    The dip in the center seems to correspond with the 'greed years', when everyone thought they were actually getting more wealthy, and the rebound to believing we should help the poor more seems to correspond with Bush trashing the country, and driving more people into poverty.  So it sort of looks like for about 10-15% of Dems, the change is self-serving.  When they're poor, they want to help the poor.  When they feel rich, tough luck to the poor, they should invest in bootstraps.

    The same sort of thing to a lesser extent with Repubs, up until about the time Bush took office, but from then on, they bought the party line hook, line, and sinker, and just kept blaming the victim.

    'Harden Your Heart' by Quarterflash, the unofficial theme song of the Republican party.

  •  This is harvesting what was sown in the 70s (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SquirmyRooter, mike101, ZedMont, LarryNM

    Back in the early 70s, Karl Rove was in Washington as the head of the Campus Young Republicans, while Richard Viguerie and Jerry Falwell were leading efforts to join the Campus Crusade for Christ program up with the YRs.

    Young "born agains" were exhorted to go out and get rich and devote their resources to a great cause, the cause of taking America back from the progressive reformers that brought about Civil Rights reform, protested the war in Vietnam and promoted the sexual revolution, among other things.  

    After Reagan was elected in 1980, Bill Bennett went out to Chamber of Commerce luncheons and told people that "no longer should philanthropy ignore what consequences arise from giving."

    This caused a whole wave of community oriented non profits that had grown up around visions of the Great Society to have to fold.  It also caused lines of credit to be revoked so that small, independent newspaper went bankrupt all over the place.  

    Right Wing talk radio rose as investors stepped forward to support it and its on air personalities like Rush Limbaugh.  Small radio frequency licenses out in the hinterlands were bought up.

    The major communications enterprises like Time Warner and AT&T ramped up lobbying spectacularly through the 80s and 90s and into today.  So much money has been spent on this that most people have a hard time understanding how much money that is.

    This steady effort at feathering special interest nests, combined with the local networking efforts done through evangelical churches, have been a 40 year campaign to inculcate various messages to a saturation point wherever those messages can take root.  Primarily this is still in small town and rural America, but it is a large amount of territory.

    This survey, showing the entire American political landscape to have tilted a few degrees, indicates just what effect all the combined efforts of the special interest promotes and true believers over the years have had.  

    I imagine that the Citizens United consequence is to accelerate this trend.  After all, the Roberts court is a product of it.  A Republican majority in Congress would be as well.  So would a White House dedicated to upholding the trend.

    I think that progressives still have a chance to overcome all this, by being smart and pointing out the truth and the fallacies being promoted through the investment of big money.  But it will require a lot of creative thinking and a lot of effort that is not dictated by the way things have been done in the past.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 06:01:15 PM PDT

    •  Couldn't have happened except for the (0+ / 0-)

      organizational structure provided by existing churches that have held draconian right wing beliefs for at least a hundred years.  Nobody took them seriously until the Roves, Falwells and Vigueries used them to propagate religio-political propaganda.  

      Remember when Falwell was a joke except in what we thought was his own little world?  Well, ole Jerry is somewhere having the last laugh now.

      Organization is their advantage.  Democrats are not organized, never have been.  Democrats rely upon individual conviction arrived at through personal struggle.  Republicans buy conviction wholesale.

      History merely repeats itself; it doesn't cure its own ills. That is the burden of the present.

      by ZedMont on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:13:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great chart and analysis (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SquirmyRooter, ZedMont, skip945

    thanks Meteor Blades

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 06:03:35 PM PDT

  •  1987 or 1992? (0+ / 0-)
    Republicans themselves have dropped from 86 percent in favor of stricter environmental controls in 1987 to just 47 percent now. By contrast, 93 percent of Democrats favored stricter controls in 1987 and 93 percent still do.
    The footnote underneath the graph says that the environmental index started in 1992.  Or maybe I misread.  Either way, it's a very striking difference.  Somewhere between 1987 and 1992, if I'm not mistaken, Rush Limbaugh started shouting daily about "environmental wackos".

    They never let their lack of understanding prevent them from forming strong opinions, do they?

    Rooting for Democrats!!!

    by SquirmyRooter on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 06:06:36 PM PDT

    •  'They never let lack of understanding.." (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slouchsock, mike101, ZedMont

      From the point of view of a religious true believer, there is no truth.  The only point of reference in the universe is "God's word."  

      Truth then is up for grabs and become strictly tactical.  The truth is whatever motivates people in the right direction.

      The core value of the true believers is that for the Righteous, there is a different set of rules to play by.  Lying in order to manipulate a population of sinner who don't know what they are doing anyway is Righteous because it leads to Godly outcomes.  

      That may sound like utter mud pancakes to someone steeped in the academic tradition of scientific methodology, but it is really a military sort of ethics.  If the enemy can be drawn into an open field of fire through trickery then it is fair because you win.  

      That is what joins the religious true believers with the true believers on Wall Street.  

      People need to consider this with fully open eyes.

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 06:16:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're taking that military ethics thing (0+ / 0-)

        seriously, infiltrating our actual military services with their apocalyptic bullshit.

        The military has always been very accommodating to religion with its belief in an afterlife, because it's a helluva lot easier to give up your life for your country if your God has another one waiting in the closet for you.  

        Now, however, right wing religion is not just being accommodated, it is trying to infiltrate and take over the military, just as it has the Congress.

        I think crap like this happened somewhere else just a few decades ago.

        History merely repeats itself; it doesn't cure its own ills. That is the burden of the present.

        by ZedMont on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:23:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow look at that increased divide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on the Environment. Thank you, energy companies and your bought-and-paid-for climate change denier "scientists".

  •  So, basically, Democrats have become smarter (0+ / 0-)

    and Republicans have become dumber. So what else is new? If you spent all your life in the same place with the same people doing the same things thinking the same thoughts and listening to the same people saying the same things, you're going to become stupid. Life is movement and statis is death, mental or actual.

    And if your children don't leave, they're going to become even stupider.

    The heartland is a dumb land. Yet another reason to nationalize public education and blanket the country with high speed rail and internet. We need to leapfrog the current generation of GOP-supported idiocy and move this country's people into the 21st century. Only thus can we win this stupid partisan war between fantasy and reality that's only benefiting one set of people--the rich.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:14:30 PM PDT

  •  If they factored in talk radio we'd know WHY (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Biggest blunder In political history considering time lost on global warming.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:38:33 PM PDT

  •  Welcome to our Doom: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    On environmental matters, stark differences have appeared. Pew first asked questions about the environment in its values survey two decades ago. Then, almost no partisan difference showed up. In the 2003 survey, however, Republicans and Democrats averaged a 13-point difference. In the latest survey, that gap over environmental protection has grown into a chasm 46 points wide. Republicans themselves have dropped from 86 percent in favor of stricter environmental controls in 1987 to just 47 percent now. By contrast, 93 percent of Democrats favored stricter controls in 1987 and 93 percent still do.

    How many divisions does OWS have?

    by Diebold Hacker on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:18:17 PM PDT

  •  Haven't read all comments yet, (0+ / 0-)

    so I may be repeating a comment already made... but I don't believe most Americans have changed who they ARE... although they seem to have temporarily changed how they THINK politically and what they say to polls, largely because of the right wing message machine.  Anyone who minimizes the importance of lack of newspaper support in keeping the national dialogue somewhat centralized and civilized needs to do more homework (IMO).  Kos calls new media the revolution of gatekeepers (paraphrasing), yet newspapers (and since 1955, TV) have been the greatest influence of public opinion for the past 200 years.  The numbers I've seen don't show that blogs or any internet presence have the attention of mainstream America to any large extent.  I think the trends and numbers the diary reports show mostly that the internet has become the key player in fomenting fear among those who do not think.  The power of anonymity has certainly brought the crazies out of hiding.

    Less than 40 years ago, the Washington Post (under the original Graham family) and the NYTimes BROUGHT DOWN the Nixon presidency.  These days government and political party shenanigans clearly as dangerous as Watergate occur and are commonplace and the news establishment does and says nothing.  TV "news" has been co-opted by corporate interests into "infotainment."  All major newspaper chains are owned by very few corporations intent on preserving the status quo.  Washpo is a shadow of its former self, thanks I believe to the non-leadership of its new owners, descendants of the Graham family who must be turning over in their graves.  The NYTimes is still influential, but is up against all the other newspapers, including Murdoch's WSJournal and may even be bought by Murdoch if he doesn't fall.

    Folks like to read newspapers and they like to get the truth.  Sadly, it's hard to find.  The internet is so co-opted by extremes on both sides, I'm far from sure it's ever going replace newspapers.  Newspapers used to pride themselves on balanced coverage -- op ed columnists on both sides provided fodder for useful arguments, and caused people to keep thinking and speaking to each other.  Most large newspapers were at heart conservative, being corporations, but knew that their editorial policies had to remain fairly balanced or they would lose readership.  There used to be actual competition among news organs to "get the scoop."  That seems to be gone.  So hot shot reporters have had to find new employment.

    I blame mostly FoxNews and Limbaugh.  Their nastiness has led most other reporting organizations to cower.  Wikileaks is one saving light, and our own White House is attacking it.

    The right wing message machine has been hard at work since the Powell Memo, early 70s.  It is pervasive, it is well-managed, it is effective, and it shapes public opinion -- but I believe Americans still mostly BELIEVE in the social reforms passed by the New Deal, and that governments are not inherently bad.  But people ARE afraid -- corporate power has changed basic survival for too many Americans from "handled" to "questionable."  And if they continue to be led to believe it's big governement's fault, we're headed for fascism.

    This is a concerted effort by the 1% to enlarge, consolidate and perpetuate their power.  It will result in the destruction of democracy in America, and maybe America itself.  The 1% truly has enough money to keep public opinion severely misinformed for a time, as it is now, but not forever.  Our culture and BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES are being controlled by unnamed forces at levels significantly above the "outed" Koch Bros. and FoxNews, et al., who are allowed be known publicly so the left has someone to whip and therefore be distracted and thereby prohibited from generating true revolutionary rhetoric -- and so far no one can do a thing about it.  I'm afraid America can only be saved by a bloody revolution.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 08:45:33 PM PDT

  •  That huge partisan divide (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, LarryNM

    that occurred between 1987 and 2012 is the GOP taking a turn to the hard right.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:13:38 PM PDT

    •  Talk Radio (0+ / 0-)

      Its all about the 1987 I was still a Republican.  When I started hearing "moral majority" I was all out of there.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:56:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed +1 (0+ / 0-)

    That may be politicizing the issue, but whether we want it to be or not, clearly this is a political issue at this moment in time. Who is doing more to further human rights? Who is actively working to suppress them? The two parties aren't equal in their support.Aménagement Sur Mesure

  •  yes, but (0+ / 0-)

    "Party has now become the single largest fissure in American society, with the values gap between Republicans and Democrats greater than gender, age, race or class divides."

    Partisanship falls pretty well among those lines. Republicans= more males, older, white, rich. Democrats= more women, younger, diversity, poor/middle class. obviously these are generalizations, but you get my drift.

    war is god's way of teaching americans geography. -ambrose bierce

    by sillyalicia on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 09:33:55 AM PDT

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