However even in a deeply polarized country, People nonetheless handle to search out widespread floor on sure concepts, previous public-opinion surveys present.
As an illustration, 71% of People — 74% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans and 66% of Independents — say they imagine that “People have extra in widespread with one another than many individuals assume,” based on a nationwide survey of greater than 2,000 adults carried out in July for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. And 81% (77% of Democrats, 91% of Republicans and 78% of Independents) agree that “with out our freedoms, America is nothing.”
A key takeaway from the ballot “is that People are certainly fed up with polarization,” John Shattuck, a Carr Middle senior fellow who served as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor beneath former President Invoice Clinton, informed MarketWatch.
“They don’t wish to be at one another’s throats,” he mentioned. “They actually imagine they’ve extra in widespread, and so they need that perception to beat the polarization.”
Greater than 90% of Democrats, Republicans and Independents additionally contemplate the rights to wash air and water, a top quality schooling, and safety of non-public information “important rights necessary to being an American at the moment,” based on the survey. Greater than 80% of those three teams really feel the identical about inexpensive well being care and an equally massive majority say the identical about having a job (91%, 77% and 85%).
‘I believe it’s necessary that there are values which might be broader than the political variations.’
“The nation is politically very divided — we knew that going into the election, to make sure, and I don’t assume the ballot essentially overturns that notion,” Shattuck mentioned. “However, I believe it’s necessary that there are values which might be broader than the political variations, and a type of units of values includes rights and duties of residents.”
The Harvard Kennedy College ballot outcomes observe with People’ views on extra conventional rights equivalent to voting, equal safety, free speech, equal alternative, privateness and racial equality, which 90% or extra of respondents throughout the political spectrum say they regard as “important rights,” the identical survey discovered. Smaller majorities throughout partisan strains say the identical of non secular liberty, the best to bear arms and LGBTQ rights.
Amongst individuals who imagine that rights like voting, free speech and racial equality aren’t safe, respondents from throughout the political spectrum agreed among the best threats to these rights embrace “authorities,” “politicians” and “different People.”
The ballot additionally confirmed that “occasions of latest months,” such because the pandemic and “financial and racial crises,” had made 85% of respondents “assume otherwise in regards to the position and accountability of presidency in defending rights” and made 83% assume otherwise about “the accountability of residents to fellow residents.”
On the COVID-19 entrance, 53% of respondents (61% of Democrats, 40% of Republicans and 54% of Independents) mentioned they’d be prepared to sacrifice some private freedoms to learn public well being, although 54% general had been unwilling to sacrifice privateness for a similar objective.
People don’t like being divided
The Carr Middle’s ballot isn’t the one one to counsel that People have grown weary of their divisions. A Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos poll launched in December found that majorities of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and apolitical individuals agree there’s extra widespread floor amongst People than the information media and political leaders painting — and 93% of Republicans, 94% of Democrats and 95% of Independents say it’s necessary for the nation to attempt to lower divisiveness.
Seven in 10 Republicans, eight in 10 Democrats and three-fourths of Independents say the lack to constructively disagree is pushed from the highest down, with leaders setting the tone, that survey discovered.
In the meantime, regardless of divergent views on immigrants and nationwide id, a majority of People (three in 4 Democrats and roughly half of Republicans) imagine variety makes the U.S. stronger, according to an Associated Press-NORC poll carried out in September of 2019. And no less than three in 4 respondents from each main events contemplate constitutionally outlined liberties, a good judicial system, and the flexibility of individuals dwelling within the U.S. to “to get good jobs and obtain the American Dream” to be “crucial.”
Majorities of each main events (83% of Democrats and Democrat leaners and 62% of Republicans and GOP leaners) additionally say American firms have an excessive amount of energy, based on a Pew Research Center survey carried out September of 2019. And 58% of People favor elevating tax charges on households making greater than $250,000.
‘I used to have an project in my class the place I challenged college students to determine a problem on which there’s a consensus. And I’ve needed to cease utilizing that project as a result of it’s too tough.’
Extra consensus on summary concepts
There’s a not-so insignificant caveat this widespread floor, nonetheless. People have a tendency to search out higher settlement on summary points like democracy, “one man, one vote,” freedom of speech and freedom of faith, mentioned Darren Davis, a professor of political science on the College of Notre Dame, however “don’t agree on tips on how to strategy these points.”
“On the broader necessary points, there could also be some consensus — however the way you truly get there’s the place the disagreement happens,” Davis informed MarketWatch.
Whereas People may agree on the significance of civil rights and civil liberties, Davis mentioned by means of instance, they disagree on particular points like affirmative motion. They’ll agree that individuals ought to have freedom of speech, he added, “however when it comes all the way down to a Muslim talking, that’s the place it’s going to interrupt down.”
“I used to have an project in my class the place I challenged college students to determine a problem on which there’s a consensus,” he mentioned. “And I’ve needed to cease utilizing that project as a result of it’s too tough.”
The nation’s polarization ends in half from “political leaders who’re telling us to be polarized; who’re telling us that we have to disagree,” Davis mentioned. Shattuck additionally pointed to misinformation and disinformation being disseminated by political leaders and on social media platforms.
“We dwell in a world the place individuals dwell in numerous realities,” Shattuck mentioned. “That’s bigger than the rapid political controversies that we face.”
‘While you discuss polarization and incapacity to compromise or incapacity to work collectively, I don’t assume that’s the case between American individuals — I believe that’s the case between political elites.’
Voters need politicians to compromise
With that mentioned, Jennifer Wolak, a professor of political science on the College of Colorado Boulder, suggests there’s an “overly pessimistic narrative” on polarization.
The events have certainly grow to be “extra ideologically distinctive” in Congress, and a higher share of voters exist on ideological extremes than prior to now, however “now we have probably the most voters within the center or simply proper or simply left of that center,” she informed Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine in an interview printed final month.
Whereas there are partisans on each ends, “it’s not the case that now we have this form of U-shaped distribution of die-hard Democrats or die-hard Republicans,” she mentioned. By and enormous, voters need politicians to compromise, she added.
“While you discuss polarization and incapacity to compromise or incapacity to work collectively, I don’t assume that’s the case between American individuals — I believe that’s the case between political elites,” Samara Klar, a political scientist on the College of Arizona, informed MarketWatch. “Sadly, on the elite stage, that’s the place we see two events who appear fairly intent on blocking one another and refusing to permit one another to manipulate.”
The nation broadly agrees on one different matter, based on a Pew Research Center survey carried out late September to early October: that the following commander-in-chief ought to be a president for everybody, not simply the individuals who voted for him.
About 86% of Trump supporters and leaners and 89% of Biden supporters and leaners say that if their candidate is elected (or re-elected), he ought to focus totally on addressing the considerations of all People — even when meaning disappointing some supporters.