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posted by janrinok on Monday January 27 2020, @05:46PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Political polarization among Americans has grown rapidly in the last 40 years—more than in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia or Germany—a phenomenon possibly due to increased racial division, the rise of partisan cable news and changes in the composition of the Democratic and Republican parties.

That's according to new research co-authored by Jesse Shapiro, a professor of political economy at Brown University. The study, conducted alongside Stanford University economists Levi Boxell and Matthew Gentzkow, was released on Monday, Jan. 20, as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

In the study, Shapiro and colleagues present the first ever multi-nation evidence on long-term trends in "affective polarization"—a phenomenon in which citizens feel more negatively toward other political parties than toward their own. They found that in the U.S., affective polarization has increased more dramatically since the late 1970s than in the eight other countries they examined—the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.

"A lot of analysis on polarization is focused on the U.S., so we thought it could be interesting to put the U.S. in context and see whether it is part of a global trend or whether it looks more exceptional," Shapiro said. "We found that the trend in the U.S. is indeed exceptional."

Using data from four decades of public opinion surveys conducted in the nine countries, the researchers used a so-called "feeling thermometer" to rate attitudes on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 reflected no negative feelings toward other parties. They found that in 1978, the average American rated the members of their own political party 27 points higher than members of the other major party. By 2016, Americans were rating their own party 45.9 points higher than the other party, on average. In other words, negative feelings toward members of the other party compared to one's own party increased by an average of 4.8 points per decade.

The researchers found that polarization had also risen in Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland in the last 40 years, but to a lesser extent. In the U.K., Australia, Germany, Norway and Sweden, polarization decreased.

More information: Levi Boxell et al, Cross-Country Trends in Affective Polarization, (2020). DOI: 10.3386/w26669


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @08:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @08:11AM (#950553)

    Left is a relative position not an absolute.
    The Democrats might be to the Right of the rest of the world, but they are Left of the Republicans.

  • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:34PM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:34PM (#950665) Journal

    True but irrelevant, mostly because 1) we live in a global age now and 2) the "relative" aspect only exists on a pre-existing collection of absolutes. You may as well say that if you only look at the colors red, orange, and yellow, yellow is blue-violet "relative to red." You can't make that claim without knowing that there *is* a blue-violet.

    And yes, there is a real, absolute set of far-left to far-right. Absolute far left would be anarcho-communism, and absolute far right would be something like Saudi Arabia.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...