Polarization is both a buzzword and a tangible indicator of the state of our nation. We hear how polarized the American public is from our politicians, the media, and our friends and family. We have also experienced the effects of voter suppression, election denial, cancel culture, the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and congressional gridlock.

This Polarization Index was created to help us better understand how polarized the American public is really. Grasping the ways in which we are polarized – to what degree and over what issues – and identifying areas of bipartisan agreement, will give us a stronger foundation from which to make progress. The following report presents data from a multitude of reputable sources to provide a holistic understanding of partisan polarization in the United States.

This report is Part II of four parts. It tackles issue polarization, comparing and contrasting the major political parties’ beliefs on the most pressing issues in the United States. Part I (September 2023), covers perceptions of the stability of U.S. democracy, perceptions of partisan polarization, and affective polarization. Parts III and IV, which will be published by the end of 2023, cover the three branches of U.S. government, media and disinformation, and election integrity.



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