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Pew Research: Record-Level Partisan Gaps Over ‘Fundamental Political Issues’

Political polarization between Republicans and Democrats on “fundamental political issues [such as] government, race, immigration, national security [and] environmental protection” have “reached record levels,” according to a Pew Research Center (PRC) study published on October 5.

Record levels of political divisions across partisan lines were recorded during Barack Obama’s presidency, expanding further during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Differences between political viewpoints across partisan lines are greater than they are across lines of “gender, race and ethnicity, religious observance or education,” concludes PRC.

PRC’s phrasing of its polling statements — to which poll respondents indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement — embedded left-wing axioms; “Government should do more to help the needy,” “Racial discrimination is the main reason why black people can’t get ahead these days,” and “immigrants strengthen the country with their hard work and talents.”

View graphs below depicting widening partisan gulfs on political issues below.

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Over the past six years, Democrats have moved left and Republicans have moved right in their views toward “government aid to the needy”:

While there has been a consistent party gap since 1994 on government aid to the poor, the divisions have never been this large. In 2011, about twice as many Democrats as Republicans said the government should do more for the needy (54% vs. 25%). Today, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans say this (71% vs. 24%).

PRC notes growing partisan division regarding alleged racial discrimination against blacks:

When the racial discrimination question was first asked in 1994, the partisan difference was 13 points. By 2009, it was only somewhat larger (19 points). But today, the gap in opinions between Republicans and Democrats about racial discrimination and black advancement has increased to 50 points.

PRC notes a growing partisan divide on views of immigrants:

There has been a major shift in Democrats’ opinions about immigrants. The share of Democrats who say immigrants strengthen the country has increased from 32% in 1994 to 84% today. By contrast, Republicans are divided in attitudes about immigrants: 42% say they strengthen the country, while 44% view them as a burden. In 1994, 30% of Republicans said immigrants strengthened the country, while 64% said they were a burden.

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