So, if you value open-mindedness, as liberals claim to do, and you see another group as prejudiced, might their perceived prejudice actually increase your prejudice against them?
[Mark] Brandt approached this question with Geoffrey Wetherell and Christine Reyna in a 2013 paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. They asked a variety of Americans about their political ideologies; how much they valued traditionalism, egalitarianism and self-reliance; and their feelings toward eight groups of people, four of them liberal (feminists, atheists, leftist protesters and pro-choice people) and four of them conservative (supporters of the traditional family, religious fundamentalists, Tea Party protesters and pro-life people). Participants reported how much each group violated their “core values and beliefs,” and they assessed how much they supported discrimination toward that group, by rating their agreement with statements such as “Feminists should not be allowed to make a speech in this city” and “Prolife people deserve any harassment they receive.”
As predicted, conservatives were more discriminatory than liberals toward liberal groups, and liberals were more discriminatory than conservatives toward conservative groups. Conservatives’ discrimination was driven by their higher traditionalism and by liberal groups’ apparent violation of their values. Liberals’ discrimination was driven by their lower traditionalism and by conservative groups’ apparent violation of their values. Complicating matters, conservatives highly valued self-reliance, which weakened their discrimination toward liberal groups, perhaps because self-reliance is associated with the freedom to believe or do what one wants. And liberals highly valued universalism, which weakened their discrimination toward conservative groups, likely because universalism espouses acceptance of all.
But these differences didn’t affect the larger picture: Liberals were as discriminatory toward conservative groups as conservatives were toward liberal groups. And Brandt’s findings have been echoed elsewhere: Independently and concurrently, the labs of John Chambers at St. Louis University and Jarret Crawford at The College of New Jersey have also found approximately equal prejudice among conservatives and liberals.