BOSTON, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New research on political polarization in the United States by Beyond Conflict and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) recently found that fear of the economic impact of coronavirus is associated with exaggerated beliefs about how much the other side dislikes and dehumanizes them.
"As fear about the economic impact of coronavirus increases, the extent to which partisans overestimate how much the other political party dislikes and dehumanizes them also increases. Compared to perceptions measured in November 2018 and January 2019, false perceptions about what the other side thinks about them have worsened. But in reality, how much partisans dislike and dehumanize each other has remained consistent over time," explains lead researcher Dr. Samantha Moore-Berg.
The data also shows that Democrats and Republicans are closer in agreement than they believe when it comes to government restrictions imposed on non-essential businesses as a response to COVID-19.
"These findings reveal an opportunity to address the perception gap that Americans hold about each other that leads to fear, distrust, and hostility. In America's Divided Mind, we outline a series of actions that individuals and leaders can take to bridge this divide," explains Tim Phillips, CEO of Beyond Conflict.
Similar to false perceptions about how much the other side dislikes and dehumanizes them, previous findings also show that in contentious policy areas, such as immigration and gun control, Democrats and Republicans overestimate how much members of the other party disagree with them.
SOURCE Beyond Conflict