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Polarized America?

Growing-Divide-in-American-Politics-Lead Is America polarized?  

Most surveys would suggest we are not.

Stanford's Morris Fiorina, for example, wrote a book, now in its third edition, debunking the idea.  "It doesn't matter how you cut the electorate-it's not polarized," he says. "We have an electorate that is, by and large, centrist."

Indeed, on practically every hot political issue -- from the proper role of government to the circumstances under which abortion might be justified -- Americans are surprisingly close to the middle.

So why do we feel so fractured?

Some suggest it's because those people who really do have extreme views on these issues, though small in number, are loud in volume. For example, most surveys suggest that members of the Tea Party movement represent only 11 to 13 percent of voters.

Nevertheless, the Tea Party casts a very large shadow over the GOP and -- by its ability to influence the selection of Republican candidates -- over the whole country.

What makes this especially dangerous are studies that find a very high correlation between Tea Party membership and racial resentment. See here and here.

Americans may not be as polarized as the popular media suggests, but the body politic is riddled with dangerous fractures.

 

 

 

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