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Americans Don't Disagree on Politics; The Issue Runs Deeper

Ty Wright
Getty Images

South Dakota Public Broadcasting recently reported a fact that will surprise most of us. Americans don't disagree on politics as much as you might think. That’s if Vanderbilt’s Marc Hetherington is to be believed. Hetherington says most people don't pay that close of attention to politics.

He adds that Americans are, in fact, polarized, but it's in their feelings, not in their issue positions. So, it’s not actually policy that divides us, but differences on a deeper, more visceral level. We are divided about things people have strong feelings about, like race and ethnicity, immigration, or gay rights.

And much of the rancor exists because the parties are so evenly matched. The bad blood has increased in the current political environment in the way that hostility increases between the Red Sox and Yankees when they’re both in the playoff hunt.

Read Marc Hetherington’s entire interview with NPR here.