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The current mood stands in stark contrast to January 2009, before Barack Obama took office. At that time, just 46% said the nation was more politically divided. But a few months into Obama’s first term, the share saying the country was more divided politically had risen to 61%.
The nature of the country’s political divisions is a rare point of partisan agreement: Comparable majorities of Democrats and Democratic leaners (88%) and Republicans and Republican leaners (84%) say the country is more divided these days than in the past.
The latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 4-9 among 1,502 adults, finds little optimism that the country’s political divisions will subside any time soon: 40% expect the country to be about as politically divided in five years as it is today, while 31% think it will be even more divided; just 24% expect divisions to lessen.
In the wake of Trump’s election, there has been an increase in the share of Republicans who think the country will be less divided five years from now. Still, just 36% of Republicans say this; even fewer Democrats (16%) expect the country’s political divisions to narrow in the coming years.
- LONG DIVISION: Measuring the polarization of American politics.