The Ideological Divide

This is interesting (and partially confirms Haidt’s thesis).

The survey asked Democrats: “How many Republicans believe that racism is still a problem in America today?” Democrats guessed 50%. It’s actually 79%. The survey asked Republicans how many Democrats believe “most police are bad people”. Republicans estimated half; it’s really 15%.

The survey, published by the thinktank More in Common as part of its Hidden Tribes of America project, was based on a sample of more than 2,000 people. One of the study’s findings: the wilder a person’s guess as to what the other party is thinking, the more likely they are to also personally disparage members of the opposite party as mean, selfish or bad. Not only do the two parties diverge on a great many issues, they also disagree on what they disagree on.

This much we might guess. But what’s startling is the further finding that higher education does not improve a person’s perceptions – and sometimes even hurts it. In their survey answers, highly educated Republicans were no more accurate in their ideas about Democratic opinion than poorly educated Republicans. For Democrats, the education effect was even worse: the more educated a Democrat is, according to the study, the less he or she understands the Republican worldview.

“This effect,” the report says, “is so strong that Democrats without a high school diploma are three times more accurate than those with a postgraduate degree.” And the more politically engaged a person is, the greater the distortion.

This strengthens my long-standing thesis that either there is no strong correlation between “education” and knowledge, or that in many cases it’s negative. Non-STEM academia is a national disaster.

3 thoughts on “The Ideological Divide”

  1. The media/political bubble, which includes social media, is a dystopic alternate reality that all too often replaces actual reality in the minds of its denizens.

  2. The Guardian, ugh.
    I am skeptical that 79% of “Republicans” consider racism to be “a problem in America today”. I strongly suspect the question was framed around Political polarization is bad right? It certainly sounds bad. A lot of disagreement out there about “racism”. Are you a racist?? or some such.

    I followed the source link (here). Some quick clips:
    54 undergraduate females enrolled at Radcliffe College: 28 feminists and 26 non-feminists.
    58 supported the affirmative action proposal and 14 opposed the proposal.
    32 supported the affirmative action proposal, 10 were neutral, and 11 opposed the proposal.
    43 supported the affirmative action proposal and 15 opposed the proposal.
    125 were strongly pro-choice and 74 were strongly pro-life.
    1,174 liberals, 500 conservatives, and 538 moderates.
    72 Democrats, 46 Republicans, 86 Independents/other party.

    Unimpressive to say the least. Not surprising given the names (More In Common, Hidden Tribes of America). Can’t find much on the money behind them. This from the original source:

    This report is published by More in Common, an international initiative to build societies and communities that are stronger, more united, and more resilient to the increasing threats of polarization and social division. We work in partnership with a wide range of civil society groups, as well as philanthropy, business, faith, education, media and government to connect people across the lines of division.
    This is the third report published as part of More in Common’s Hidden Tribes Project, whose focus is to better understand the forces that drive political polarization and tribalism in the United States today, and to galvanize efforts to address them. Previous publications were Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape and Midterms Report.

    This from the first source:
    It may be possible to ‘fix’ higher ed and media institutions so that they become part of the solution instead.
    The “solution” I guess is getting leftists more informed about opposing viewpoints or something (partisan perception gap). I love the word “instead”. “Academia and media are creating a partisan perception gap, which is bad. They should instead try to get rid of it.” Good luck with that.

  3. I’m a bit skeptical of any analysis coming from an organization with the conclusion they want to reach baked into their organizational name. That is, of course, unless they changed their name after they collected their data.

    Had their surveys discovered that we have less in common than one might think, what would they have done?

Comments are closed.