Do Republicans and Democrats really hate each other? Not as much as you think, study says

PHILADELPHIA — Political polarization in America may be at its highest point in decades. Sometimes, it can seem like Republicans and Democrats hate their political opponents more than they love their own side. However, a new study finds that hatred doesn’t run as deep as many may think. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania say negative partisanship is largely exaggerated — with political agents and the media mainly responsible for stoking those flames.

A team from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication set out to answer two questions: First, how widespread is partisan hatred? Then, is that hatred really more intense than an American’s love for their own party?

Using several different methods, including a survey examining how political polarization and hatred of an opponent affects party affiliation, researchers found that the main reason Americans choose their political party has more to do with love than hate. The team also looked at how loyal voters are to their party based on their hatred of the opponent. To do this, they used an experiment which separated hurting the opposing political party monetarily and helping their own party monetarily.

The results continue to show voters are generally more interested in supporting their own political beliefs rather than hurting someone else’s. Moreover, the team notes the implications of continuing negative partisanship are problematic for society.

“If there’s this gap in how much you like your side and dislike the other side, and it’s all motivated by emotions, you’re less likely to hold presidents accountable for things and more likely to vote for your side no matter what they do, even when it’s corrupt,” says Professor Yphtach Lelkes in a media release. “If it’s just driven by hatred, then it’s not about interest groups and coming together and fighting for your group. It’s much more toxic.”

Pushing hatred for the clicks?

Study leader Amber Hye-Yon Lee hopes their findings can help Americans better understand what motivates their neighbors to think and vote the way they do.

“Many people are led to believe that the other side is driven by hatred and is out to get them,” Lee says. “Hatred only breeds hatred, so by showing that there is really no clear evidence for hatred of the other party trumping everything, I am hoping we can clear up some of the misperceptions people have about how much they are hated by their political opponents, and by extension, discourage people from feeding their own hostility in response to exaggerated perceptions of hostility coming from the other side.”

Lelkes adds that even scholars enjoy using the term “negative partisanship” in their studies because of the attention it can bring. The team also accuses news outlets of having a bias towards continuously covering events involving extreme emotion, political unrest, and polarizing subjects because they “garner more clicks” online.

“When we talk about politics being overwhelmingly negative, it leads to that,” Lelkes concludes. “We are wildly off in how we think the other side feels about us. We’re trying to tone that down.”

The findings appear in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Comments

  1. I do not necessarily “hate” fellow citizens who call themselves Democrat. Most are deceived by the liberal media, whose outright lies, deceptions, and omissions of facts permeate our airwaves.
    Lying liars Cuomo, Lemon, Maddow and many others are now getting their rewards. Likewise the msm: CNN, MSNBC ratings have tanked, the lying liars are losing their jobs and their stock is in the pits.
    The American people are generally not stupid. There will be an awakening. Socialists and communists should be shaking in their boots.

    1. YOU SIR, are absolutely correct…and right on. I don’t ‘hate’ DemocRats…that is an irrational and emotional response to their ignorance and stupid opinions and remarks. I DESPISE them, on purely rational and reasoned grounds.

    2. You are saying Democrats are the deceived party? The Republican platform is not about any issues at all. It’s about “owning the libs” and that’s it. What about “stop the steal”? Biggest lie in American history. Fox News? LOL.

      1. ANd the left’s comments that the right’s goals are to kill folks with (insert issue here, voting, abortion, guns, etc).

        I’ve seen plenty of left democrats start the Twitter blasts that whatever issue is on the table, the Repubs want to kill folks or steal etc….

        Libs like MeToo when its convenient, then get quiet when its not (such as the transgender guy who abused a girl and was charged as a minor when he is 26 now), and others.

        You have a president who states they will stop working with the GOP. stop your koolaid drinking man.

    3. All politicians lie. When it comes to illegal wars and invading other countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, when it comes to taking away our freedom by extending the repeal of habeas corpus, when it comes to expanding the KGB style mass spying in US citizens by the NSA, when it comes to funding and expanding the powers of the secret police know as Homeland Security, both parties vote in unison without so much as one minute of debate.
      US politics is like American professional wrestling, fake orchestrated, choreographed theatrics for the gullible masses. Divisive issues that really have no effect on our well being are tossed out there to pit one side against the other so as to distract citizen from knowing what the government is really doing around the globe, which is building a corporate empire and enforcing unwilling countries which they call “unfriendly countries” with military power, no different than a mafia style protection racket. It is all done to benefit the 1% and US oligarchs. How can the richest country in the world not have baby formula? You are very naive little child to believe one party is better than the other. The US is a two party globalist dictatorship.

    4. Hate is a harsh word, but one that applies today. EVERY PERSON who reads this knows someone who’s lost a friend because of political alignment. MOST know a relative who holds to a political position (not necessarily grounded in truth) that is in opposition. Give it a politically correct term if you wish, but the truth is that HATE and illogic rule American politics today. The really odd thing is that there is nothing of substance to divide us – no unpopular war, no economic disaster and no real cultural division (that’s admitted). We simply HATE each other. In terms of history, division precedes the downfall of empire. If true, then America is close to shattering permanently. It’s really THAT BAD.

  2. We all want the same thing. Personal growth and satisfaction.
    The relevant factors are:

    Control – of our own lives, otherwise known as personal freedom.
    Motivation – feeling like our efforts will be fairly rewarded.
    Security – not having to fear predators.

    Political differences arise in our perception of whether policies are enhancing these goals or taking us further from achieving them. Most commonly,

    Control – when one group is trying to gain excessive control over others.
    Motivation – when one group tries to usurp the benefits of the efforts of others.
    Security – when predators go unpunished.

  3. This article completely misses the point and tries to make the “left” look better. All you have to do is watch 10 minutes of CNN or just read, pretty much EVERYWHERE, on the internet and you’ll find plenty of hatred of anything conservative… best examples include discussions about “orange man” or “trumptards”… etc etc etc……….. The best thing to happen in YEARS was brandon becoming president so the snowcones can all show EXACTLY who they are…….. America does NOT approve! ………….. This report is completely “Fake News”.

  4. While I don’t condone death because of one’s politics, I must agree that the only thing worse than a Republican is a dirty disgusting Democrat! 🙂

  5. Democrats are duplicitous and evil as it comes. Murdering babies to sell their body parts is as Democrat as lowering taxes on working americans is GOP

  6. Oh, its a War they started and there is only one way to end a war; Victory. War does not have a proper playbook you must follow other than winning at all cost. This is where many non Democrats sit.

    1. Good points and there is historical precedent.
      Society has suffered another Tyrannical Century, when a massive experiment in authoritarian government erupts. Ours began in 1900, the one before in 1500 and earliest–well documented ran through the third century.
      Governments go crazy with spending, taxation and inflation to conduct “endless” wars against other countries as well as their own citizens.
      Goes on until it trashes freedom and the economy. Prompting popular uprisings–where we are now.
      The good guys–ordinary citizens–get to win.

  7. Democrats are the stuff vermin eat. To hell with all of them. Anyone that condones killing babies as they’re being born, believes in open boarders, invaders being allowed to vote, and providing those same criminals access to services which we all pay for…. You vote Democrat, and you’re at minimum mentally ill and un-American; but more likely just plain evil.

  8. Indeed, the media promotes hatred because there is money in it (“clicks”). For many shallow people, politics has become their religion, and people take it personally when their religion is attacked. Such people are the real prey of the media.

  9. I hate the Democrat party, and the liberal media. Democrat voters, not so much. I don’t hate stupid people, I feel sorry for them.

  10. The truth is that you’re all a bunch of stupid sheep commenting on this site. Any idiot who believes a site called “Study Finds” is a total naive fool. All you right wing scum bags can go kill yourselves. You’re the real problem with America. You claim to love freedom but all you do is steal votes and prevent people from voting. You rig elections constantly. You stand for hate. Look at your side with its kkk, nazis, white supremacists, it’s all hate all the time. Fucking morons you republicans losers.

    1. KKK was a southern democrat org. Nazis are national socialists. If Republicans constantly rig elections, why do democrats control both houses and the presidency? You’re a total failure and always will be.

  11. For some unfathomable reason I find Democrats to be undereducated and highly misinformed.
    If they understood what they were voting for then we wouldn’t have a
    President who is causing World Wide
    Confusion and animinity twords the USA… TRUMP 2024

  12. Most republican voters went through a young, dumb, ‘liberal’ stage. So they at least relate to the rambling loons.

  13. Dems hate America. They hate our nation, our history, our flag, and anyone that has a differing opinion.

  14. The politicians are to blame. They are lying and have lied to us for years. They solve nothing. They do nothing and politicians are bad for our country. Fire them all

  15. Uh, YES. I personally detest almost every single democrat on this planet. Most unfortunately my son got twisted up by liberal POS professors at Rutgers. So, that is one liberal I love. My brother, also a college boy, is also one of the confused ignoramuses. Also twisted up by college POS professors.

    If I saw a democrat on fire I wouldn’t even spit in their direction to help put the fire out.

    1. Sorry for your loss and no if they were on fire I would let it go out before I started pissing on them

  16. I am a liberal Republican (there’s about five of us left in the world.). Most people in my party (98%) are so consumed with rage about the supposedly “evil” Democrats that they can’t see that they’ve been lied to by idiots like Tucker and Hannity for decades. There’s MONEY in blaming the Dems for everything and saying that they’re bad people or un-American. All these soft-headed, uneducated dummies in my party lap that stuff up. “Oh, my problems are because of the liberals and the immigrants and not because I never went to college? That makes perfect sense!” Stupid, easily-swayed, and sad.

    1. You’re a RINO. You embrace DNC talking points and turn on patriotic Americans in favor of Marxists. Join the democrats, since you’ve already lost your soul.

  17. I hate democrats as I hate evil. Democrats are of a reprobate mind and their consciences have been seared in their rebellion against God’s natural order. They embrace the murder of innocent children in the mother’s womb. They support same sex marriage and every perversion against all that is good. I believe as lost as they are they cannot be redeemed because their hatred of God has blinded them.

  18. The press and politicians are definitely motivated to make things worse. They definitely can’t make money and keep getting elected with their knowledge and skill.

    Strong democrats and republicans are more alike than the rest of the population. They both like to force their idealogy on others and their “solutions” to problems usually make things worse. The political chart that is a circle where moderates are on one side and then the other side goes r/d and then ends with fascism/socialism is very accurate.

  19. Seems to me it’s the stoicism of Marcus Aurelius and the liberal conservatism of Blake vs. the violent existentialism of Sartre and the banal postmodern nihilism of Lyotard

  20. The representation of today’s Democrat in Congress, in the media and elsewhere is a party of division and hate. Period. You don’t follow the groupthink and you’re canceled. Republican representation in Congress, in the media and elsewhere can be equated to Newton’s Third Law.

    Careful what you ask for, you might get it.

  21. The divide is between two different realities. Both cannot be true. Seeking truth can unite us, but we cannot even agree on what is true. It seems that everything Democrats say is demonstrably false, but we can’t have a civil discussion. If you disagree their only response is to shout, “RACIST!”

  22. All the current issues with political division are easily addressed if people would just stop pushing solutions through the central government.

    Most hot button issues are minor enough to be addressed through state governments and people can simply move if they dislike the majority opinion. After that culturally we otherwise have a great deal in common.

  23. the demos started this with 8 years of the husseinO reign of terror as the Real Americans finally got feed up and realized its a war for the soul of the USA, which the dems hate …….. now we take names and count the days till……….

    “The most terrifying force of death comes from the hands of Men who wanted to be left Alone. They try, so very hard, to mind their own business and provide for themselves and those they love. They resist every impulse to fight back, knowing the forced and permanent change of life that will come from it. They know that the moment they fight back, their lives as they have lived them, are over.

    The moment the Men who wanted to be left alone are forced to fight back, it is a form of suicide. They are literally killing off who they used to be. Which is why, when forced to take up violence, these Men who wanted to be left alone, fight with unholy vengeance against those who murdered their former lives. They fight with raw hate, and a drive that cannot be fathomed by those who are merely play-acting at politics and terror. TRUE TERROR will arrive at these people’s door, and they will cry, scream, and beg for mercy… but it will fall upon the deaf ears of the Men who just wanted to be left alone.”

    – Author Unknown

  24. Wow. I see this kind of hate and violence online, but not in my friends. I have friends that are Republicans, Democrats, Trumpists, Never Trumpers, and Libertarians,but most of them are the same as the majority of US citizens: Independents without an allegiance to a party. They vote on issues and character. If all we can come up with is criticizing someone else’s solutions without offering any of our own- well there’s our character.

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