Emily Badger and Niraj Chokshi write at The New York Times
Surveys over time have used a 100-point thermometer scale to rate how voters feel toward each other, from cold to warm. Democrats and Republicans have been giving lower and lower scores — more cold shoulder — to the opposite party. By 2008, the average rating for members of the other party was barely above 30. That’s significantly worse than how Democrats rated even “big business” and how Republicans rated “people on welfare.”
By 2016, that average dropped by about five more percentage points, dragged down in part by a new phenomenon: For the first time, the most common answer given was zero, the worst possible option. In other words, voters on the left and right now feel downright frigid toward each other.
Dems. think of Dems.
Dems. think of Reps.
Reps. think of Dems.
Reps. think of Reps.
Last year, for the first time since it began asking the question in 1992, the Pew Research Center reported a majority of Democrats and Republicans said they held “very unfavorable” views of the opposing party. Since Pew published those findings last summer, that extreme distaste has receded a bit: So far this year, 45 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans hold “very unfavorable” views of the opposing party.
That conclusion follows a sweeping 2014 Pew study that found that “partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive” than at any point in the last two decades.
That negativity appears to have fed a growing perception that the opposing party isn’t just misguided, but dangerous. In 2016, Pew reported that 45 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats felt that the other party’s policies posed a threat to the nation.