The Psychology of Partisanship

Psychology of Partisanship

The partisanship occurring in American politics has reached never before seen levels. A survey conducted on the concept had surprising results.
42% of the people polled from each party viewed the others are “evil”. This study was released as a paper by political scientists at the University of Maryland and Louisiana State University,
The two decided to see how deep the partisanship goes. Another statement survey participants could agree with called the opposition party “less than human”. They also asked participants whether they believed that the U.S. would be better off if a large majority of the opposition were to suddenly die.
The two political scientists saw an underlying theme throughout the survey. Aggression. They found that when an individual had a strong association with one political party, this would then lead to particularly hostile feelings towards the opposition with regards to violence, moral disengagement, and schadenfreude.
While it was generally believed that the election losers would be the ones prone to violence, the data extracted suggested the opposite. Winning increased the calls for partisan violence against the “losers”.
According to another study conducted by professors at the University of Pennsylvania and Yeshiva University, the most informed and educated voters are those that act the most partisan. This was by a wide margin. These voters are willing to accept a policy that may be contrary to their political beliefs as long as they can maintain their political identity as either a Democrat or Republican.
This is called “identity expression”. This isn’t done out of perceived morality, but rather an affirmation of their identity.
Both of these studies now beg further studies about group identity. Why is there such a high level of aggressive partisanship now? Will it intensify?
Robert Kurzban argued that American politics have become more judgmental from a moral standpoint. Individuals are held to rigid moral standards and are being scrutinized more than ever before.
Groups are now dividing themselves on moral grounds. This is not a positive action. The moralization that occurs in American politics happens as a means of driving the opposition down. Often, the opposition will be condemned on moral grounds. If you want to read more about the subject of political psychology and group identity, check out the original here.

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