Study: Politics divide Americans because partisanship is socially acceptable

Study: Politics divide Americans because partisanship is socially acceptable
(Image credit: iStock)

New research from Shanto Iyengar, a political scientist at Stanford University, suggests that politics is the single most divisive force in American society. While differences like race and religion are to some extent constrained by norms against discrimination, Iyengar says, "there are no corresponding pressures to temper disapproval of political opponents."

"In fact, political hostility toward the opposition is acceptable, even appropriate," write Iyengar and his research partner, Sean J. Westwood of Princeton University. "Partisans therefore feel free to express animus and engage in discriminatory behavior toward opposing partisans."

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