You're Probably Making Assumptions About Your Opposing Political Party

July 26, 2019
Opposing Political Parties

"You know what they really want.” As America slouches toward the 2020 presidential election, candidates and pundits will regularly tell you this about the other political side, followed by a list of its extremist beliefs, twisted motives and wicked desires.

But do you ever stop and ask how much you really know about the other side? Or whether the outrage industry in politics and media is telling you the truth about your fellow Americans who disagree with you politically? These questions are worth asking, because it turns out most of what we “know” about the other side is wrong.

Let’s start with how much Republicans and Democrats actually know about the lives of people on the other side. The authors of a 2017 study in the Journal of Politics revealed that the average Democrat believes that more than 40 percent of Republicans earn more than $250,000 per year. Meanwhile, Republicans believe that nearly 40 percent of Democrats are LGBTQ. How close are these estimates to reality? Not very. Just 2 percent of Republicans are doing that well financially, and just 6 percent of Democrats are LGBTQ. 

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