Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Partisanship Defines the Era

Although people still like to deny party loyalty, party-line voting is on the rise. In fact, partisanship is so intense that 33 percent of Democratic parents do not want their children to marry a Republican and 49 percent of Republican parents would have their daughter avoid a Democrat, a tenfold increase of parents holding the view since 1960. Party prejudice is now stronger than race or religion.

It’s not surprising that the presidency, the peak of partisan identity, is highly polarized. Today, more than 80 percent of Republicans regularly tell pollsters they approve president’s job performance and barely 10 percent of Democrats do the same. That split, as the table below shows, is at record levels. Seventy-one percent of voters now have opposite positions on presidential performance, up from 35 percent in the 1960s and in the 50 percent range as recently as the Clinton and Reagan presidencies.

Partisanship has also spurred down ticket voting, with 90 plus percent of partisans voting through a ballot of federal officials, starting with the president and staying with one party through senators and congresspersons. But partisanship affects voters’ views not just of candidates, but on a host of issues, including the state of the economy. The supporters of the party in control of this White House tend to be more positive about the economy today and its direction than the out party. Of course, media audiences are highly skewed by partisanship, with Republicans watching Fox and online with Breitbart and Democrats watching MSNBC and linking to Huffington Post.

And now, who do you want your daughter to marry?

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