On Trump’s stable approval numbers and today’s tribalized media landscape

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
The reality is that the latest numbers confirm what has been happening almost since the day Donald Trump took office, which is that very few people are changing their minds about him.

Gallup published its weekly update of President Trump’s approval rating yesterday, showing him “under water,” as he has been throughout his presidency, with 39 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval.

The very slight change from a week earlier is that both numbers went down by one percentage point from the previous reading of 40/56.

You could, if you felt like torturing the numbers to wreak some meaning from them, convince yourself that a tiny portion of both previous approvers and disapprovers have entered “don’t know/not sure” territory for some reason, but such tiny within-the-error-margin change would not really support such a conclusion.

The reality is that the latest numbers confirm what has been happening almost since the day Trump took office, which is that very few people are changing their minds (or should one say their “feelings”) about him. He continues to have historically awful approval numbers compared to most presidents during their first year (and now into a second year). But the numbers don’t get much better or much worse.

The same is basically true if you rely (as I also do when I check in on the current incumbent’s approval numbers every month or so) on the Huffington Post’s average of many different approval polls. At the moment, HuffPost shows Trump at an average 52.7 disapproval/43.1 approval, slightly higher on the approval side than Gallup, but still deep in historically bad territory and showing very little movement from day or week or month-to-month.

To summarize, his approval ratings are both very bad and very stable, which suggests that very few Americans are changing their minds about him.

If this keeps up, it will also be historically unusual. It’s hard to compare 14 months of a presidency with the longer records of previous presidents, but most of Gallup’s historical approval numbers, which go back to Harry Truman, are much more volatile, reacting to major news developments with big ups and downs in approval/disapproval.

Trump does and says things constantly that strike me as likely to drive his numbers down. Then they don’t go down, or at least not much. (I’ll assume that those who like/trust/approve of him have the opposite reaction: that he’s doing so many great things that his numbers should be soaring. But they aren’t.)

It’s possible that the stability of Trump’s approval/disapproval numbers reflects one of the other big changes that has occurred over recent years in the sources of news or what we might call the Fox/MSNBC effect.

Ten days ago, the British paper, the Guardian, published a review of a recent book titled “The People versus Democracy” by Yascha Mounk, a German scholar now based at Harvard. Mounk argues that fundamental aspects of democracy are endangered by a breakdown, or three breakdowns that amount to what he calls “three crises,” which are undermining three fundamental pillars that support a healthy democracy.

Arguing not about Trump but about weaknesses in democracy around the world, Mounk says one of those pillars was that, in previous eras (as summarized by the Guardian):

The citizenry had a relatively similar worldview because broadcast news, newspapers, radio, and the like were all one-to-many forms of communication in which gatekeepers ensured that news and information remained within the mainstream. This meant that even diverse communities were part of a shared conversation based on shared facts.

(If you’d like to explore the other two of the “fundamental pillars,” they’re summarized in the Guardian piece.)

But the change in the news media environment is something I think about a lot because, for example, I watch enough of both Fox and MSNBC to frequently wonder about anyone who is relying entirely on either of those networks for their information (although I have my own view of which of them is more open and honest about its facts).

I spent most of my career working for newspapers in the old “objective” news system. It had plenty of flaws, and I understand why many conservatives thought it was biased. But I also believe that a citizen who read the morning paper and watched the evening news got a much more balanced, more fact-oriented, less tribalized portrait of the world that made it easier for liberals and conservatives to coexist, compromise and even cooperate around common goals.

There’s no system that guarantees accuracy, fairness, open-mindedness about what is important and interesting. But I do worry that today’s media environment is rendering us nearly ungovernable.

Former Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan of New York is often credited with the axiom that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” Turns out (depending on what it means to be “entitled” to something) Moynihan was wrong.

Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/27/2018 - 11:28 am.

    “Winning the argument” and “sticking to our guns” have bigger dopamine rewards than applying reason to a situation.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds

  2. Submitted by Sandra Marks on 03/27/2018 - 12:55 pm.

    Vote BLUE…

    in 2018 and 2020. Problem resolved.

  3. Submitted by John Edwards on 03/27/2018 - 01:04 pm.

    Accurately remembering history

    Eric should not be so concerned. Presidential numbers go up and down, as the Gallup numbers below show. In his seventh quarter, for example, our greatest modern president Ronald Reagan’s approval number 41.7% was not that much different than Trump’s—or Obama’s.

    I understand liberal Eric’s longing for the good old days: such as when the Mpls. Tribune refused to print a poll showing law-and-order cop Charlie Stenvig winning the 1969 Minneapolis mayor’s race; or when Eric’s newspaper literally reversed the numbers on a poll in 1978 so that Republican Al Quie’s opponent DFLer Rudy Perpich was in the lead. When the polling company hired by the newspaper to do the actual interviews complained about the manipulation, the Minnesota Poll was discontinued in disgrace for several years. (Both Stenvig and Quie won.) Yes, those were the days!

    Presidential approval ratings of presidents in their second quarters
    (July 20 to Oct. 20) http://news.gallup.com/poll/143921/obama-approval-rating-new-low-recent-quarter.aspx

    Eisenhower 1954 64.3%
    Kennedy 1962 64.3
    Nixon 1970 55.2
    Carter 1978 42.3
    Reagan 1982 41.7
    GHW Bush 1990 69.0
    Clinton 1994 41.4
    GW Bush 2002 67.3
    Obama 2010 44.7

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/27/2018 - 01:22 pm.

      Thank you!

      It’s not often I’ve seen Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan paired in any context, so the polling numbers are interesting just from that standpoint. Mr. Reagan must be rolling in his grave at the comparison. Along those same lines, characterizing Ronald Reagan as “…our greatest modern president” had me laughing out loud.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/27/2018 - 02:55 pm.

      Neither/Nor

      Neither Al Quie nor Ronald Reagan (who signed huge tax increases into law) could be nominated for dog catcher in today’s GOP.

      • Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/27/2018 - 03:52 pm.

        delusional

        if you think Reagan couldn’t.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/27/2018 - 06:26 pm.

          Ha!

          He’d never pass the Grover Norquist test.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 03/27/2018 - 08:53 pm.

          Oh please…

          Reagan would retch if he could see what’s happened to the GOP.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/28/2018 - 09:06 am.

          Thought Experiment

          Let’s pretend for a moment that a candidate identical to St. Ronald of Burbank in every way–policy, personality, achievements–could be found. The only difference is that his name would be, let’s say, Neil Wilson. He would not have the moniker sanctified in the minds of Republicans.

          Now, without the branding, how do you think he would do?

      • Submitted by John Webster on 03/27/2018 - 04:29 pm.

        Likewise

        Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, and FDR couldn’t get nominated for dogcatcher in the 2018 Democratic Party.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/28/2018 - 09:02 am.

          Really?

          Any reason to think that, beyond generalized snarking at liberals?

          When has dogcatcher ever been an elective office, anyway?

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 03/28/2018 - 04:48 pm.

          Veneration Vs. Nuance

          Those who claim to be conservatives venerate Ronald Reagan. The Dems you mention? Most modern day Dems have much more nuanced thoughts.

  4. Submitted by Tim Smith on 03/27/2018 - 01:14 pm.

    this very site and column

    are an excellent examples of tribalism.

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 03/27/2018 - 03:12 pm.

    Repubs think

    the dems should vote or approve of the Republican principles. Repubs have Nixon who failed, George W. Bush who failed, Tim Pawlenty who failed, and Sam Brownback who failed. All failed to serve the public. Then we have Reagan who started the tax breaks for the wealthy in exchange for their vote, which continues today. Reagan isn’t even mentioned by Republicans today because they know he failed the public too. It isn’t tribalism it is just that the Republican principles are destine failure as proved by those above. Today it is the New Republican Party, NRP. The moderate Republicans are already gone and today there are stalwarts of the party who can’t stand the party either and are bailing out. Repubs have the House, Senate, and the White House and in over a year all they have been able to accomplish is a tax bill that likely only serve corporations.

    And then there is Trump. No matter when or how Trump leaves office he has made messes that won’t be easy to clean up. He has decreased the morality of America and increased the racism. He has become the poster boy for anything seamy. He has coarsened our language. He has authorized bullying by his own actions. He has installed, in concrete, the New Republican Party (NRP). Trump has decimated the State Department with a huge budget cut and leaving large numbers of job unfilled. Rex Tillerson has ruined his name by serving Trump. Trump has made America the laughing stock of the world with our allies who no longer trust America. Americans don’t even trust, hard to say, our President. Women have been and continue to be exploited by Trump only setting the standard for others with compromised ethics and morality beliefs to follow. Trump has and continues to spend money focused on him and him alone when he was elected to serve the American people. Trump has unequivocally proven the hypocrisy of the former Republican Party when it comes to deficit spending. Deficit spending is fully okay with the NRP. Trump has continued funneling massive amount of money via his tax plan to the already wealthy. I guess that is the one part of the former Republican Party the NRP likes too. For the everyday citizen Trump has flaunted bonuses, which are far less valuable than pay raises. Any tax benefit that might be real for the everyday citizen is sunset at the end of Trumps presumed term. When the Speaker of the House comes on TV and is giddy about some woman who realized an extra $1.50 per week in her pay check you know the tax benefit will be less than meager at best. Trump could easily be blackmailed via flattery. I believe that is what is behind Trumps refusal to discredit Putin. I give Putin credit as he found a way to keep Trump quiet. Putin has something on Trump that Trump doesn’t want to become public at any cost. I think it is something that would delegitimize the election of Trump. With any luck Mr. Mueller will uncover what it is. Trump talks big about not being afraid of the NRA and just like the other politicians’ caves to the NRA. They don’t want to sacrifice any campaign donations or NRA voters even when lives are in the balance. All those protesting students are or will be voters working to oust those unwilling to make gun law changes. I agree with a sign I saw that said, “The second amendment is killing us”. The second amendment needs amending. Intelligence, morality, and ethics are not part of the NRP. The New Republican Party in control of the government can only be described as inexcusably feckless. That isn’t much of a record to get behind. It isn’t tribalism, it is just bad Republican policy.

    • Submitted by Joel Stegner on 03/27/2018 - 09:50 pm.

      Republicans don’t have principles

      Unless you consider fear, hate and greed principles. That is Trump’s platform. I agree with your sentiments but most of those who act like Trump couldn’t get through that many words in one sitting.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/27/2018 - 03:32 pm.

    Perhaps

    If you asked a “Trumpie” what would change their mind the answer would probably be nothing, They are bought in 100%, they don’t really know why or what values they voted for, just they like what he says, thus they can’t support their vote other than faith, or they think they are on the same page. On the other side, there is probably a long list of reasons not to change their mind (approve of Trump), meaning they know why they voted against and don’t like the guy, it would be a long journey from his existing positions to something that would change their mind, and then comes the question, could you even trust him that he actually did change his support or is it just another round of BS? .

  7. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 03/27/2018 - 03:39 pm.

    If there really are two “tribes” in America, I want to belong to the crowd that doesn’t scream, even when they have reason to scream with pain and sorrow–those survivor kids from Florida who organized the marches Saturday against gun violence.

    Trump supporters seem compelled to talk over everyone else, they interrupt, they go on and on in monologues so they never have to answer a question, and they believe stuff that is absolutely untrue. Eric, there are facts. Not your facts and my “alternative facts.” We do not live in Alice’s Wonderland having a Tea Party with the Mad Hatter.

    Oh, maybe some of the country does! Sorry!

  8. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 03/27/2018 - 06:29 pm.

    The media reflects the fact that there are two distinct America’s, that have very little in common.

    How long before we make two America’s a reality is up to us, but I’m not in favor of dragging it out.

  9. Submitted by jim hughes on 03/28/2018 - 04:50 pm.

    it’s the economy

    My guess is 80% of people don’t even watch the “news” and have no clue what’s really going on in the world. The U.S. economy is strong, Trump says he’s protecting us from our enemies, and nobody really cares how many porn stars he’s paid off. But booms and busts never stop, the economy will go sour eventually, and Trump’s approval (which isn’t really ‘approval’) will go with it.

    It was ever thus.

  10. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/28/2018 - 07:56 pm.

    The “two Americas” are the result of a 35-year semi-stealth campaign on the part of the far right to instill their own narrative in people’s minds, and more importantly, to create distrust of all other types of media. Even before Rush Limbaugh went national in 1988, there were hundreds of far-right talk radio stations around the country, and Fox News in 1996 merely amplified the ideology. Now we have websites like Breitbart and others less transparent spreading the far right gospel.

    In that America, every media outlet that isn’t specifically far-right is characterized as having “leftist bias,” as if that is the only possible kind of bias. Consumers of these right-wing media are warned against straying from the ideological fold, so much so that they can’t distinguish centrism from liberalism from socialism.

    That’s why they can believe that Barack Obama, who bailed out the bankers without penalty, forced the Detroit auto workers to make concessions, and borrowed his idea for insurance reform from the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney, is a Marxist. (Believe me, I know some real far-left Marxists, and not one of them thinks of Obama as a “comrade.”) That’s why they call the conservative-owned Minneapolis Star-Tribune “The Red Star” and complain that it never carries any conservative op-eds, except that it does. I keep challenging them to pick up a copy of The Daily World, the newspaper of the American Communist Party, so that they can see what real Marxist bias looks like, but no takers so far.

    This mental isolationism of the AM radio listener is compounded in the politicized pseudo-Christianity of some of the mostly suburban megachurches. I say “pseudo-Christianity” because they have blended Ayn Rand’s economics and American jingoism with a few highly curated Bible verses, pop psychology, and peppy songs to create a cult that professes to worship Jesus but violates many of his most often emphasized teachings.

    I’ll come right out and say that my travels in Europe and East Asia as well as other experiences have convinced me that Scandinavian-style social democracy creates the most just and contented societies. I’m also a mainline Christian, a member of one of the more liberal denominations. Those are my biases.

    However, I did not hesitate to read that fundamentalist “news magazine,” nor am I afraid to read the Wall Street Journal editorial page or look at Fox News in airports (I don’t have cable, so I don’t see it otherwise) or even to have conservative Facebook friends. The only one I unfriended insisted on posting vile racist memes on my wall even after I asked him to stop and to confine that filth to his own wall, but I keep the ones who are capable of civil discussions.

    But if you are a right-winger who spends your daily drive time listening to The Patriot and, even worse, if you attend a politicized church, you live in an America different from the one I live in.

    Some people in my world mumble about just letting the South and any like-minded red states secede, but a look at the electoral map shows that there is no such thing as a solidly red or solidly blue state. Every red state has blue islands. Every blue state has patches of red.

    If, God forbid, the two Americas ever went to war, we wouldn’t have a relatively tidy replay of the Civil War of 1861-1865 when all the states were entirely on one side or the other. No, given the geographical distribution of red and blue voters, such a war would be more like Bosnia or Rwanda.

    It’s a terrible situation, and I don’t know what we can do about it, but we need to mend the break somehow.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/31/2018 - 07:54 am.

      Agreed Kind Of

      Karen,
      I agree with you that many Far Right “news Outlets” are way out there. However I also find that the Mother Jones, Think Progress, Dailykos, etc outlets are pretty out there also. I found this piece from Fox pretty interesting. I really mostly on NPR, CNN, NBC, etc, however I can see how they are pulled in to covering symptoms instead of the real problems. They cover whoever is talking or protesting…

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/03/27/john-stossel-why-so-many-are-taking-red-pill-and-discovering-truth-about-mainstream-media.html

      Eric,
      Excellent piece. These echo chambers that the tribe members live in worry me more than anything else.After almost 10 years of challenging both sides on my blog, I don’t think any of the people have changed their views in any significant way. I am not sure how to bring Americans together when they seem determined to segregate.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/02/2018 - 10:40 am.

        Since everyone has a bias of some sort, one can’t rely entirely on left-wing sources.

        However, I find that right-wing media have the following pernicious biases:

        1. Blaming racial minorities, immigrants, unions, women, liberals, and teachers for any and all reasons for popular discontent. I’m especially thinking of problems that are actually caused by business owners who see rank-and-file workers as expendable. It isn’t any of the maligned groups above that prompt profitable businesses to offshore production or other functions, to hire illegal immigrants, to cut the number of employees and make the remaining ones work twice as hard for the same compensation, or to impose “flexible” schedules that make the employees’ weekly incomes and free time unpredictable.

        These horrible measures (and don’t defend them unless you know people who have experienced them or have experienced them yourself) are strictly the result of the kind of business school indoctrination that I saw among my students in the 1980s: the idea that maximum returns to shareholders are the ONLY purpose of business management, no matter who gets hurt.

        2. Using “liberal,” “Marxist,” “socialist,” or “far left” for anything they don’t like, without defining these terms. There are actually two kinds of liberalism, the kind that takes a laissez-faire position on personal behavior and the kind that seeks greater government involvement in providing for the common good and prefers non-military solutions to problems. It’s possible to espouse behavioral liberalism without governmental liberalism (the Libertarian Party) or governmental liberalism without behavioral liberalism (some types of Mennonites, such as those affiliated with Sojourners magazine).

        In addition, as I mentioned above, the right-wing media kept referring to Obama as a Marxist, when he was nothing of the sort.

        3. The use of racist appeals. This included the whole “birther” controversy, which Trump backed, in which adherents claimed that Obama was born in Kenya. Interestingly, they could not demonstrate that his mother had ever been to Kenya. But because his father was an African immigrant, the conspiracy was an underground appeal to racism. Think about it. Would there have been any controversy at all if Obama’s father had been an immigrant from Ireland? Would anyone have claimed that “O’Bama” was really born in Ireland?

        It was also puzzling that so many consumers of right-wing media believed that Obama was a closet Muslim, especially since it was widely reported that he was a member of a UCC church with a controversial pastor. Muslims do not join Christian churches any more than Christians join mosques.

        Could “Muslim” be a code word for something even the dumbest racists know they’re not supposed to say in public?

        4. The right wing is also overly eager to defend authoritarianism, especially when directed at people of color. When a black or brown person, either an innocent person or a person guilty of no more than a misdemeanor (e.g. selling bootleg cigarettes, shoplifting cigars) dies in police custody or from a police action, the right-wing media are full of “He shouldn’t have resisted,” “He shouldn’t have done the crime,” “He shouldn’t have sassed the police officer,” “He shouldn’t have run away,” “He shouldn’t have taken his hands off the steering wheel.”

        They are also eager to condemn any sort of public protest and applaud authoritarian measures against peaceful protesters.

        5. As the daughter of a Lutheran pastor and a current practicing Episcopalian who has taken that denomination’s four-year course for lay people, I am appalled at the right-wing’s conflation of its politics with Christianity, especially in the independent suburban megachurches, which spring up out of nowhere, are run by untrained, self-ordained “ministers,” and are responsible to no denominational authority. You’ll never learn in one of those places that Jesus most frequent target of condemnation was greedy rich people or that he would not allow his disciples to defend him in the garden of Gethsemane or that he would not have said “taxes are theft” or that he associated with people whom his society and religion considered unacceptable. You’ll never learn that the Bible has always been interpreted on several levels, from literal to various types of allegory.

        Unfortunately, the average American is predisposed to equate “Christian” with “good,” and the propagandists have taken full advantage of this.

        6. I see more outright lying from the right-wing media. Now there are some idiotic conspiracy theories on the left side, especially the one that says that no planes actually crashed into the World Trade Center, that they were holograms timed to coincide with pre-planted explosive charges.

        But it’s the right wing that claims that students are forbidden even private prayer in schools or that school prayer was once a nationwide phenomenon or that it is now illegal to say the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s the right wing that claims that leftist “hate America.” It’s the right wing that spreads outright lies about the welfare system, claiming, for instance, that “millions of illegal immigrants” come to the U.S. to mooch off the welfare system or that generation after generation is living out entire lifetimes on welfare (something not possible since 1995).

        It is right-wing media that claim that Democrats advocate for our pathetically stingy (compared to other Western nations) safety net only in order to create “dependency” and “persuade poor people to vote Democratic.” Hmm, maybe poor people–if they vote at all, and most don’t–are disinclined to vote for the party that demonizes them.

        It is the right-wing media that spread the claim that the DFL “bused illegal immigrants and welfare mothers (gee, I wonder what color they were) from precinct to precinct” in order to create the margins of victory for Mark Dayton and Al Franken.

        So those are the biases of the right wing, appeals to the mean and ignorant. It has gotten so bad that even some of my more intelligent conservative friends are disgusted. I know at least one who voted for Hillary Clinton, recognizing that she is even less “left wing” than Obama and that she would have been capable of governing competently. (Note: I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton and prefer her only in comparison to Trump.)

        7. The simplistic “private good, public bad” bias of the right-libertarian wing of the Republican Party.

        8. The right wing went nasty first. I saw the first signs of it in the early 1980s. It was only in the mid 1990s, after Al Franken published his critical books, that the mainstream media (all owned by the same six corporate conglomerates, by the way) began complaining about “the coarsening of public discourse.”

        I’d like to know which biases of the left wing are as harmful to public discourse as AM talk radio or Fox News.

        Outlets like Mother Jones, The Nation, and Daily Kos simply do not attract the corporate advertisers and therefore have a smaller reach than the right wing outlets. When right-wingers claim that The New York Times shows “leftist bias” (actually, it is more inclined toward behavioral liberalism than governmental liberalism and can be downright hawkish on foreign policy), I ask them to look at Mother Jones or The Nation to see what real leftist bias looks like. In most cases, they have never heard of these publications, while everyone on the left knows about AM talk radio and Fox News.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/02/2018 - 12:11 pm.

          Wow, that was quite a comment. I am not here to defend Left or Right leaning media, but here are my thoughts.

          1. There are many contributing factors to our “popular discontent”. Unfortunately both tribes seem to prefer to focus only on the ones they are against. Personally I think American consumers and pension funds contribute the most to the issues you brought up. We want low costs, high quality and good retirement returns. How many people driving a Prius, Subaru, etc care that they have almost Zero US content? How many people invest looking for a company that pays their employees better than market?

          2, Left leaning media loves terms like “draconian cuts”, “seeking to destroy government”, etc. They both play those games.

          3. Left over uses xenophobic, etc when discussing things like border security.

          4. The Right does like law and order. The Left wants to shut down businesses that refuse to serve LGBT people. To me government control is government control…

          5. Well charity was intended to be voluntary, and God was to judge who failed the test. Not sure “forced charity” / wealth transfer was covered in the good book.

          6. Can’t argue, some on the right are way out there. As for welfare, I will agree that it is used to get votes until I actually the Democratic party demanding significant learning and improvements from recipients. Until then it is just co-dependency at it’s worst.

          7. The Left chants right back… “Public Good, Private Bad”

          8. I don’t know, the Left uses a lot of terrible labels to insult Conservatives.

          Personally I find AllSides rating useful.
          https://www.allsides.com/media-bias/media-bias-ratings

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/02/2018 - 05:04 pm.

            This has the potential to degenerate into a flame war, so I will let our respective posts speak for themselves.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2018 - 10:09 am.

              Sounds Fine

              However remember from Eric’s previous post on Tribalism.

              “I know I’m guilty of tribal thinking, from the liberal side. Many of you probably are too. Of course, we secretly believe conservatives, and especially those who have somehow hitched their wagon to Trump, are guiltier of it. But Sullivan is not interested in mediating a debate over which side is worse. He will pound on you, and yes, you too, to do your own thinking and not to worry whether some of your thoughts are out of sync with your partisan or ideological tribe.” Eric Black

              https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2018/02/democracy-tribalism-and-our-precarious-political-dynamic

              I spend roughly an equal amount of time challenging the beliefs of both tribes. That is why I chose the hobby I did. I guess I am curious how often you are out of sync with the Liberal tribe? What does that mean for better or worse?

              How will we pull this country back together? Or will it only get worse?

  11. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/03/2018 - 10:28 am.

    Facts and Data

    One of my readers gave me this excellent and interesting link.

    http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/10/05162647/10-05-2017-Political-landscape-release.pdf

    I think the graph on page 12 is very interesting since it shows well how we have moved from being a somewhat normally distributed society to being a bi-modally distributed society. I am assuming the internet, social media and cable news have accelerated this shift.

    Not sure how we start to pull it back together?

    And if we split further will we have more violent swings in policy as each tribes works hard to undo the last tribes work… ACA, no ACA, ACA, no ACA….

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 04/04/2018 - 09:25 am.

      Polarization

      John, I have done a fair amount of gerrymandering research and have found the same growing disparities in our populace.

      You may have already come across the Pew Research video, “The 2016 U.S. Election: Polarization, Partisanship, and Populism,” as it is chock-full of what you speak.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WASBSLyegM

      The slide at 27:00 that lists stereotypes attributed to the other side jumps out.

      Of course ‘we’ are always correct in ‘our’ stereotypes and ‘they’ are even worse for their stereotypes.

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