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Thursday, June 23, 2016
POLITICS Majority of Democrats and Republicans Say Those in Opposing Party Frighten Them, Threaten Country
NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic and Republican views of the opposing political party have sunk to such lows that many say their rivals make them feel afraid, a major public opinion poll released Wednesday found.
Though party-line division is nearly as old as the republic and polls have long shown unfavorable views of the opposition, the newest Pew Research Center survey shows a worsening of opinions of political adversaries. A majority of Americans in both parties now hold very unfavorable views of the opposing political party, the poll found, a first since Pew began probing the issue.
Majorities in both parties see those on the other side as closed-minded, while significant minorities describe them as immoral, dishonest and unintelligent, the poll found. Sizeable minorities — 45 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats — see the opposing party’s policies as so misguided they threaten the country’s well-being, up significantly from two years ago.
“The intensity of the feeling is stronger now, this antithetical feeling toward the other party,” said Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew.
Highly negative views of the other party have grown steadily since Pew began gauging them in 1994, when 21 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats held very unfavorable opinions of the other side. In the latest poll, 58 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats said the same, a 12-percentage-point jump on both sides in just the past two years. Those most engaged in the political process — people who say they regularly vote and either volunteer for or donate to campaigns — expressed even more negative views of the other party.
The negativity spilled over into voters’ feelings about their own parties as well.
An overwhelming number of people — 87 percent on both sides — said their own party either made them feel frustrated, afraid or angry or some combination of the three. READ MORE