Where is the worst partisan prejudice?

The Atlantic set out to determine if there are "communities in America that are more or less politically forgiving than average." They hired a polling and analytics firm to conduct a study, and found:

"[T]he most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves."

Take a look at Buncombe County...

We can see a greater degree of political prejudice in progressive-controlled Buncombe, than in the surrounding counties that tend to be more conservative.

If you check out Mecklenburg County to the east, you'll see a similar pattern.

This finding aligns in some ways with previous research by the University of Pennsylvania professor Diana Mutz, who has found that white, highly educated people are relatively isolated from political diversity. They don’t routinely talk with people who disagree with them; this isolation makes it easier for them to caricature their ideological opponents. (In fact, people who went to graduate school have the least amount of political disagreement in their lives, as Mutz describes in her book Hearing the Other Side.) By contrast, many nonwhite Americans routinely encounter political disagreement. They have more diverse social networks, politically speaking, and therefore tend to have more complicated views of the other side, whatever side that may be.

On the other end of the scale, it appears the entire state of South Carolina is an echo chamber for conservatism.

By contrast, the North Country, in far upstate New York, just east of Lake Ontario, seems to be more accepting of political differences. The same seems to be true in parts of North Carolina, including Randolph, Onslow, and Davidson Counties. In these places, you are more likely to have neighbors who think differently than you do. You are also more likely to be married to someone from the other side of the aisle. It’s harder to caricature someone whom you know to be a complicated person.

In the Tar Heel state, we generally seem to be in contact with people who hold differing opinions. This makes sense, given our status as a "purple" swing state. However, I suspect this is changing as people from progressive areas of America flee the policies they promoted and relocate here - particularly in places like Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville.

We don’t know what is causing what, unfortunately, as is often the case in sociological research. We just know that being older and living in or near a city seem to go along with partisan prejudice in general. This may be because, according to decades of research into how prejudice operates, humans are more likely to discriminate against groups of people with whom they do not have regular, positive interactions.

Obviously, it's very difficult to ascribe reasons for this growing divide, and studies have found conflicting results. But, as The Atlantic points out: "[I]t’s hard to know exactly what’s going on, but what’s clear is that both sides are becoming more hostile toward one another."

Pete's Prep: Tuesday, March 5, 2019

  • The number of Americans dying from suicide, alcohol, and drugs hit the highest level since records have been kept, USAToday reports.
  • NBC News reports on a new Danish study that finds "kids who got the MMR vaccine were seven percent less likely to develop autism than children who didn't get vaccinated."
  • One of the hallmarks of socialism is that the ruling class gets rich. So, when the Washington Examiner reports "two political action committees founded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide funneled over $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission"... well... it shouldn't be terribly surprising.
  • The Atlantic has details on a study that finds "the most politically intolerant Americans, according to the analysis, tend to be whiter, more highly educated, older, more urban, and more partisan themselves."
  • Have scientists cured AIDS? From the Associated Press: "A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, the second success including the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported."

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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