As political divide grows, people want more options, Pew survey finds
TAMPA, Fla. - Political polarization in the US isn’t new, but a Pew study found the divide between Republicans and Democrats is growing as each view the opposing party in a negative light.
The survey found more people describe those in the other party as more closed-minded, dishonest, immoral, and unintelligent than other Americans. In 2016, about half of Republicans (47%) and slightly more than a third of Democrats (35%) said those in the other party were a lot or somewhat more immoral than other Americans. Today, 72% of Republicans regard Democrats as more immoral, and 63% of Democrats said the same about Republicans.
"I think that the parties have been so divided, and they've moved so far apart from each other ideologically in a lot of ways that it's created this animosity between voters and the way that they view the other party," Bethany Bowra, Political Science Researcher said. "And we see sometimes even people voting for a party that they might not necessarily like. They just dislike the other party more."
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Among the overall public, 39% said they wish there were more political parties to choose from in this country. Voters told FOX 13 it’s hard to trust any party.
"What’s going to need to happen is we're going to have to come up with a centrist third party, not a Republican, not a Democratic Party, but a centrist type party where people who who who see the need for crossing the divide can go to, because now you're either Republican or Democrat, the way politics has played today doesn't help. You know, that doesn't matter. They're Democrats to the Republicans. There's not a lot of trust in either party," Bob Rios said.
Politcal experts said while that’s more difficult to do, but the survey findings should be eye-opening.
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"So I think what it really indicates is that both major parties, if they want to continue seeing turnout for them and seeing volunteers and seeing that type of participation that they need to elect candidates at every level, I think it signifies that parties need to start listening to their voters," Bowra said. "They need to get back to what matters to voters and not continue in these directions that maybe voters are not as satisfied with and don't feel represented by. "
The Pew Research Center said 6,174 Americans participated in the survey.