The 2016 election did not increase political polarization

phys.org | 7/18/2018 | Staff
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You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree that American politics are highly partisan. Partisanship has been on the rise since the 1970s, and the consensus among the media seems to be that political polarization has skyrocketed since the beginning of the campaign season for the 2016 presidential election.

But a new study from the Annenberg School for Communication does not support this popular belief. Professor Yphtach Lelkes and his research collaborators conducted a series of studies in 2014 and then replicated these studies in 2017, allowing them to compare levels of political polarization in the U.S. before and after Donald Trump was elected president. They found no increase in polarization, leading them to conclude that President Trump has not made things worse.

Polarization - Time - Lelkes - Discourse - Partisanship

"I've been studying polarization for a long time," Lelkes says, "and elite discourse is arguably at its worst, which led us to theorize that partisanship would be worse since Trump took office. But we found that things really have not budged."

The first of the three studies tested participants' willingness to speak poorly of the other political party and their opposition of speech critical of their own party. The second study tested the extent to which participants...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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