Raw Data: It’s Elites Who Drive Polarization, Not the Working Class


Who’s responsible for increasing political polarization? Andrew Gelman suggests that one of the “cleanest pieces of evidence” is public attitudes toward abortion. If you look at the polling data, what you see is that attitudes between Democrats and Republicans start to diverge markedly around 1990. If you dig a little deeper, you find that the change is almost entirely among whites. If you dig a little deeper among whites, you get this:

The biggest change in party polarization on abortion appears among those with mid to high incomes; those with college degrees; and those who are heavily tuned into politics. Among the fabled blue-collar whites, party ID doesn’t really predict attitudes on abortion very well at all.

Gelman avoids drawing any broad conclusions from this, and so will I. But it’s interesting, especially since we’ve seen lots of evidence like this before. It’s elites who have largely turned our major parties into polarized war zones, not the heartland.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate