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 the areas of bipartisan agreement, will give us a stronger foundation from which to make progress. The report presents data from a multitude of reputable sources to provide a holistic understanding of partisan polarization in the United States. All analyzed data is weighted to better represent the American public.

This is Part I of four parts. It covers perceptions of the stability of U.S. democracy, perceptions of partisan polarization, and affective polarization. Part II (available in September 2023) tackles issue polarization, covering topics like the economy, climate change, and gun rights. 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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