Is Your Congress More Extreme Than It Was 25 Years Ago?

Posted by & filed under Fixing Congress, Hyperpartisan, Role of Independent Voters


Very much so, according to an interesting new poll from the Pew Research Center. Chris Cillizza writes in The Fix:  “Partisanship doesn’t seem worse.  It is worse….Essentially, the two parties agree on almost nothing… and that’s a very scary prospect indeed.”  Of particular interest to Independents (albeit leaning Independents, as opposed to true self-identified independent voters) is a finding that we may not be as modifying an influence on overall partisanship as we think:

…while it’s become old hat to attribute this growing partisan divide to the bases of both parties solidifying and forcing those who don’t see things through their ideological lens out, the Pew poll finds that the rise of partisanship extends to independents as well.  “Even when the definition of the party bases is extended to include these leaning independents, the values gap has doubled between 1987 and 2012,” according to a memo released by Pew describing the findings.

Referencing the graph above from the Pew report, the short of it is that in 1999, the average percentage point difference between Republicans and Democrats on 48 values question asked as part of the Pew Research poll was 11 percent. As of this year, that difference had increased to 18 percentage points.

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2 Responses

  1. Corey Mondello June 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Ask Newt Gingrich what he did when he was the Speaker of the house, how he created programs for the GOP to follow to demonize Democrats by name calling and lying, partly with the Contract with America, and other ways like talking points he told people to use when mentions Dems on media, words like “lazy”, “immoral”, “corrupt” etc. That was about 25 yrs ago. Just another example of how conservatives destroy everything.

    • Gustavo August 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      As David Roberts notes at Grist, yet another poll resleaed last week showed wide public support for the programs the House wants to cut. The poll by the American Lung Association found that 77% of respondents — including a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents — favor stricter limits on greenhouse gas pollution. The public is essentially telling Congress to leave our pollution controls alone, but it isn’t clear that Congress is listening.Yet another new poll, resleaed last Wednesday by Harris Interactive, found that the American public overwhelmingly opposes cuts to pollution control programs. The poll found that Americans oppose cutting these programs by a margin of 54%-37%. ___This is what baffles me so much. All of these polls say that an overwhelming majority of Americans favor greenhouse gas limits and controls on pollution. Then why are these people voting in members of Congress that believe just the opposite? Americans are the ones voting them in! Or are the people in these polls also not voting while those that want the opposite are? Or are more elctions being stolen besides being bought than we know about, because it sure doesn’t make sense to me.


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