The Political Divisions Of The United States

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The main political divisions in the United States are into two parties - the Republicans and the Democrats. A recent Pew Research study (Dimock et al. 2014) noticed a growth in ideological consistency within the parties, with the overlap in conservativeness and liberality shrinking between 1994 and 2014. This polarization of political views could have many effects on the politics of the nation - both in the upcoming (2016) presidential election and societal developments in the future. Polarization in political views, while not bad in and of itself, can hinder the actions of the nation as the two sides staunchly bicker over who’s right instead of working together toward an actionable solution. Lack of unified national strategy hamstrings…show more content…
If increased polarization is associated with a decrease in confidence in the nation’s government, this could indicate at least one undesirable situation that should be changed. Revising the way our government is elected could increase satisfaction, especially if this also attenuated the spread of polarization. To see if extreme political views are associated with either satisfaction or a sense of the governments disfunctionality, I turned to the General Social Survey. Produced by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, the survey covers many social topics including a general self-assessment of political views, and confidence in societal institutions. This survey randomly sampled adults across the United States and collected the information by in-person interviews, each interview in a given year producing a single case. The GSS has been surveying since 1972, but we will only be using data from 1994-2012 so we can compare each year’s results to the already identified trend of polarization. I looked for correlations between people who self described their political views as extreme and other variables in the dataset pertaining to confidence in federal institutions. Since the data from the GSS is a preexisting survey, this is an observational study, not an experiment. Conclusions from this study can be generalized to the US population at large, but there is a very strong volunteer bias attached to relying on a
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