The biggest area of polarization in America right now is not race, class, or gender — it’s politics, according to a new monster report from the Pew Research centre.
According to the survey, which tracks the partisan political gap over the past 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have grown increasingly far apart under the White House administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The divide is now at its highest point since Pew began tracking in 1987, with an average 18-point split between the two parties on the 48 issues tracked by Pew.
The following charts have some pretty amazing stats about the state of party polarization in 2012 — and go a long way toward explaining why partisan rancor in Washington has reached such a fever pitch.
Divisions over race, education, income, religion and gender have stayed remarkably steady, while the party divide has grown.
There's also a growing disparity in views on income inequality — or at least its perception. The gap is now 36 points, compared with 22 in 1987.
Believe it or not, there was also almost universal agreement on the effectiveness of government in 1987.
As evidenced by the Tea Party uprising in 2010, Republicans want more change in political leadership. Democrats prefer experienced politicians.
One consequence of political polarization: More voters now identify as Independent than ever before.
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