A new study by USA Today and the Bipartisan Policy Center finds that Americans may be just as divided as the lawmakers who they blame for partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.
In one test, the survey asked 1,000 Americans to look at two education policies. Plan No. 1 called for reducing class sizes and making sure schools teach basics. No. 2 called for increasing teacher pay while making it easier to fire bad teachers.
Half of those surveyed were told policy No. 1 was a Democrat plan and that No. 2 was a Republican plan. The other half got the opposite description, being told that No. 1 was the Republican policy and No. 2 was the Democrat plan.
The results? About three-quarters stuck with their party, saying they approved of whichever plan they were told was affiliated with their side of the aisle.
- 75 percent of Democrats agreed with plan No. 1 when told it was the Democratic plan. 80 percent agreed with plan No. 2 when told it was the Democratic plan.
- 70 percent of Republicans agreed with plan No. 1 when told it was the Republican plan. 78 percent agreed with plan No. 2 when told it was the Republican plan.
The survey also found that 76 percent believe American politics is more divided than in years past, but 55 percent say the political parties are more divided than Americans, reports USAToday.
Want to talk politics? 53 percent of those polled said they seek a more diverse exchange of topics while 32 percent preferred to stay within party lines. But when it comes interacting with family, 62 percent said they want to stick with those who are in the same political party.
About one-in-three people said they have no trust in leaders of the opposing political party, both in Washington, D.C. and in their own state capitols.