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Many share values ​​in a polarized United States

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In an increasingly polarized United States, there is surprisingly great agreement on basic values ​​between Democrats and Republicans. Photo: John Minchillo/AP/NTB

Of NTB | 19.04.2024 06:03:04

Policy: Nine out of ten American adults share the opinion that the right to vote, to have equal protection under the law and the right to privacy are “extremely” or “very” important. 84 percent think the same about freedom of religion, according to the survey, which was carried out by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

In the survey, the participants are asked about their attitudes towards several freedoms and rights. The answers show little differences between Democrats and Republicans.

But not on the issue of arms. Here, there are far more Republicans who believe this is an important part of the nation’s identity.

– If you gather a bunch of ordinary people in a room to discuss various topics, there will be a much greater coincidence of opinions than you might think, says social scientist Michael Albertus from the University of Chicago.

The respondents also express pessimism. Only three out of ten Americans believe that the United States is a well-functioning democracy. Half think it works poorly, and 14 percent say the US is not a democracy.

– Partly because political leaders do not reflect the electorate and behave much more polarized than those who voted for them. Most Americans are moderates, but have been incited to hate the other party, says Lilliana Mason, a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University.

Democrats believe to a far greater extent than Republicans, 71 percent versus 38 percent, that it is a core American value to allow people from the rest of the world to escape violence and seek economic opportunities in the United States.

58 percent of Republicans believe that Christianity and values ​​are a core value. Only 18 percent of Democrats think the same.

Howard Lavine is a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. He understands the difference between the oldest and the youngest voters.

– Many young people do not remember when people with different party preferences could gather in each other’s homes. Their frame of reference is the great division that came with Donald Trump’s presidency, he says.

The answers appear to be sensational in a time of extreme polarization in politics where concern about the use of violence in connection with this autumn’s elections is increasing.

The broad agreement on common values ​​and great dissatisfaction with how democracy works is not surprising, according to experts.

The survey finds little disagreement about how democracy should work in theory. But young Americans between 18 and 29 are far less likely than those over 60 to say that the US is a well-functioning democracy. Young people are also less inclined to the importance of having a democratically elected government. Six out of ten young people think it is important, while 9 out of 10 older people think the same.

(© NTB)

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