Partisan divide in 'day-to-day' life appears larger to Democrats than Republicans

May 27, 2015, 3:23 PM GMT+0

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to view the day-to-day lives of their opponents as very different from their own

American politics is the most polarized that is has been for at least a century, with recent elections characterized by the bitter battle for turnout between left and right as the ideological centerground within each party has moved further and further apart. The growing divide doesn't just reflect ideological shifts but also differences in how people lead their lives. Solidly Democratic states tend to be much richer than solidly Republican states, but they are also states where the cost of living is much higher and people tend to live in denser urban areas.

Research from YouGov shows that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think that the lives of their partisan opponents differ significantly from their own. Overall, 59% of Democrats think that the day-to-day lives of Republicans are different from their own, compared to 49% of Republicans. Democrats were particularly likely to say that Republicans' lives are 'very different' (37%), something only 22% of Republicans say about Democrats.

Democrats also tend to be more likely than Republicans to say that their partisan opponents are less likely to share certain positive characteristics. Most Democrats (54%) think that Republicans are less likely to be generous than people like them, something only 31% of Republicans say about Democrats. Democrats are also more likely to say that Republicans are less friendly to strangers (44% to 25% less likely). The only two measures where Republicans are more likely than Democrats to hold negative opinions about the other are whether or not Democrats are more or less likely to be faithful to their spouses (31% to 26% less likely) and to be hard workers (35% to 26% less likely).

Republicans and Democrats were asked to choose which of two statements comes closest to describing how they view the other. In both cases partisans narrowly tend to think that their opponents do not share many of their other values and goals, but a significant minority (35% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans) believe that even though the opposition feels differently about politics they still share many of their other values and goals.

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here.

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