Pew Research Center did not say directly that their December 26, 2017 study finds that Americans are increasingly polarised, but, sadly, the results certainly indicate it.
Excerpts from ’17 striking findings for 2017′ follow. Pew illustrate their findings with detailed graphs, which are worth checking out. The second excerpt below is from Pew’s Global Attitudes Survey.
Emphases in the original:
1 Partisan divides dwarf demographic differences on key political values. The average gap between the views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents across 10 political values has increased from 15 percentage points in 1994 to 36 points today. Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only slightly wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment, and about as wide as differences across racial lines. Today, the partisan gaps far exceed differences across other key demographics.
2 Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. A global median of just 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs, according to a survey conducted last spring. The image of the U.S. abroad also suffered a decline: Just 49% have a favorable view, down from 64% at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.
4 Democrats and Republicans disagree now more than ever on the news media’s “watchdog” role. Roughly nine-in-ten Democrats say news media criticism keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done, compared with 42% of Republicans who say this – the widest gap in Pew Research Center surveys conducted since 1985. This stands in stark contrast to early 2016, when similar shares of Democrats (74%) and Republicans (77%) supported the media’s watchdog role.
7 Americans see fundamental differences between men and women, but men and women have different views on the cause of these differences. Majorities of women who see gender differences in the way people express their feelings, excel at work and approach parenting say differences between men and women are mostly based on societal expectations. Men who see differences in these areas tend to believe biology is the root.
9 The share of Republicans who hold negative views of the effect of colleges and universities on the country has grown significantly since 2015. Nearly six-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners (58%) now say colleges have a negative effect. Two years ago, by contrast, 54% of Republicans said colleges were having a positive effect. Democrats and Democratic leaners have consistently held positive views of the effect of colleges on the U.S.; 72% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say this today.
This next one is particularly disappointing (purple highlight mine):
12 In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has increased. This rise in “unpartnered” Americans, from 39% in 2007 to 42% today, has been most pronounced among young adults: Roughly six-in-ten adults younger than 35 are now living without a spouse or partner. The share of “unpartnered” adults also has risen more sharply among those who are not employed.
That is because they can marry the government instead. The government fulfils the material role of husband for too many women — and not just in the United States.
I could see this starting in the 1960s when I was growing up and attending Catholic school. When I was in primary school, only two students came from a ‘broken home’, common parlance then, now taboo.
Few of my Catholic high school friends came from single-parent homes; it was far from commonplace.
Among my adult neighbours during those years, only one woman I knew got a divorce. She said she was ‘bored’ and, anyway, she could find a job and work full time. I do wonder what happened to her and her two children. I felt very sorry for her husband, who was shell-shocked by the situation. He really loved her.
Catholic university was pretty much the same, with very few coming from single-parent households.
It wasn’t until I was earning a living on my own that I started meeting colleagues whose parents were divorced. It seemed such a strange concept to me. The last time I uttered the words ‘broken home’ in public was sometime during the 1980s. Someone I didn’t know that well barked at me, ‘Don’t tell me my home was ‘broken’! My mom did a great job!’ I explained the reference, but to no avail.
Anyway, in closing, the Republican-Democrat divide is equally troubling as we enter a new year.
There appears to be no end in sight for the foreseeable future. The same probably holds true in many Western nations.
I pray that our respective nations come together. I have never lived through a more divisive time, especially in such an era of ‘tolerance’.