This Chart Reveals the Issues That Are Driving a Wedge Between Americans

Inflation is by far the most pressing issue for the American public, but Republicans and Democrats strongly disagree on what else matters, according to a recent survey.

SO WHAT

The findings are basically a map of the U.S. culture wars.

THE NUMBERS

Sixty-five percent of Republicans and 42% of Democrats named inflation as one the most pressing issues facing the country in the FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

Immigration was the most partisan issue on the list: Only 7% of Democrats said it was a top concern, compared to 35% of Republicans, a 28% gap.

  • Climate change (24%), inflation (23%), government budget and debt (21%), race and racism (17%), election security or fraud (17%) and the pandemic (16%) were the next biggest wedge issues, in that order.

AMERICA DIVIDED

Other recent research has shown that America is exceptionally politically polarized at the moment.

  • The “2020 pandemic has revealed how pervasive the divide in American politics is relative to other nations,” Pew Research Center president Michael Dimock wrote last March.
  • Even before COVID-19, he said, “Americans were more ideologically divided than any of the 19 other publics surveyed when asked how much trust they have in scientists and whether scientists make decisions solely based on facts.”
  • In “Democracies Divided,” a 2019 collection of case studies on polarization around the world, researchers Thomas Carothers and Andrew O’Donohue found that a “powerful alignment of ideology, race, and religion renders America’s divisions unusually encompassing and profound.”
  • “It is hard to find another example of polarization in the world that fuses all three major types of identity divisions in a similar way,” they added.
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