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Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Americans hate political opponents more than they love their own party, study finds

Sandee LaMotte
Updated 29 Oct 2020

Americans now hate people in the opposite political party more than they love their own party, with disrupting implications about behavior, a new study finds.

"Compared to a few decades ago, Americans today are much more opposed to dating or marrying an opposing partisan; they are also wary of living near or working for one," according to the study published Thursday in the journal Science.

"They tend to discriminate, as when paying an opposing partisan less than a copartisan for identical job performance or recommending that an opposing partisan be denied a scholarship despite being the more qualified applicant," the study said.

Leveraging data from 1975 through 2017 in nine Western democracies -- Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States -- the researchers found that by 2017 what they call "out-party hate" was stronger in the United States than in any other nation.

"The current state of political sectarianism produces prejudice, discrimination and cognitive distortion, undermining the ability of government to serve its core functions of representing the people and solving the nation's problems," said lead author Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at both Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Kellogg School of Management, in a statement.