Political Discontent

A Majority Exhausted with Polarization

77% of Americans are fed up with polarization. So, how come extreme views get so much attention?

Are we tribes with different codes, values and even facts? That question started research by Hidden Tribes about political polarization in the US. Their answer is yes.

Polarization means more than just disagreeing. A polarized people reject each other’s premises and doubt each other’s motives. They question each other’s character and block their ears to diverse perspectives. And it is experienced almost everywhere.

Their research uncovered what they call a ‘Perception Gap’. Let me give two examples, Democrats think that 50% of Republicans believe “Racism still exists in America”, where in fact more than 80% of Republicans believe this, a 28 point gap. Republicans think that less than 50% of Democrats disagree with “Most police are bad people”, where in fact almost 90% do: a 37 point gap.

Hidden Tribes identifies 7 tribes with varying political engagement and views. The Perception Gap can differ per group. Not surprisingly, the Gap is wider for more outspoken groups.

Their 2018 research also uncovered the ‘Exhausted Majority’ who are fed up with polarization. That are the 77% of Americans who believes the differences are not so big that they cannot come together. So, how come extreme views get so much attention?

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