Let's take a look, starting with partisanship.
If someone asked you about that, would you think that things had gotten worse of late?
You'd be right. According to polls taken in June and July of this year,
The average gap between the views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents across 10 political values has increased from 15 percentage points in 1994 to 36 points today.And, it seems even when the parties tend to agree with each other, the partisan gap can actually grow; here's just one example.
For the first time, a majority of Republicans (54%) favor acceptance of homosexuality; just 38% did so in 1994. Yet over this period, the increase in the share of Democrats saying homosexuality should be accepted has been much larger (54% to 83%).Even when they move in the right direction, the Republicans fall further behind...
What about how the world views America - do you think this has changed in the first year of the Trump Administration? You'd be right if you answered yes.
Looking broadly at global confidence in the US, there was a sharp downturn from the Obama administration (64%) to the Trump administration (22%). There was an even greater shift in the 'no confidence' rate, which went from 23% under Obama to 74% under Trump.
All but two of the 37 countries surveyed noted a decline in confidence in the US president doing the right thing. The outliers? Israel (+7 for Trump over Obama) - and Russia (+42). No surprise there. Countries with steep declines in confidence include Germany (-75), South Korea (- 71), France (-70), Spain (-68), Canada (-61) and the UK (-57).
Another interesting finding has to do with the effect of post-secondary education on the country.
Nearly six-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners (58%) now say colleges have a negative effect. Two years ago, by contrast, 54% of Republicans said colleges were having a positive effect. Democrats and Democratic leaners have consistently held positive views of the effect of colleges on the US: 72% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say this today.Those negative Republicans? Last year, the number was only 45%.
And the last one we'll look at has to do with the media. Not #fakenews, but opinions on the watchdog role the media plays.
- 70% of US adults believe that criticism from news organizations keeps political leaders from doing things that shouldn't be done; while 28% think that media criticism keeps political leaders from doing their jobs.
- But in a survey from March of this year, there's a 47 point gap between Democrats and Republicans on this question, with 89% of Dems thinking the watchdog role is a positive and only 42% of Reps believing the same.
- As recently as early 2016 (January/February), 74% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans shared that same supportive role for the watchdog media!
These days, it's almost hard to imagine there being a time when the Rs were more supportive of the media than the Ds, isn't it?
There are other interesting findings in the report, including opinions about automation; race and privilege; religions; and living without partners. It's a great snapshot of this remarkable year, helped in large part because the folks at Pew have asked the same questions over time, some of them for decades.
I'm thinking it'll be fun to look at these same surveys again next year, to see whether the Trump effect continues, or if things establish a sense of balance - even if it's an out-of-whack version of balance.