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Behind political polarization, a complex picture of partisans


The study assesses the public’s views on a range of issues and segments Americans into nine groups, largely divided along partisan lines. Four fall mostly within the Democratic Party and another four mostly into the Republican Party, with the final group made up of largely disengaged Americans who are less clearly aligned with either side.

The groups within each party are distinguished by their ideological positions, their demographic makeup and their level of political engagement. And the analysis reveals that the coalitions that form within parties can vary based on the issue at hand.

According to Pew, “the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats sometimes obscures the divisions and diversity of views that exist within both partisan coalitions — and the fact that many Americans do not fit easily into either one.”

Despite the sharp partisan polarization that dominates opinions on most issues, the research reveals some similar patterns across…

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