Saturday, January 29, 2022
Home Tags University of Arizona

Tag: University of Arizona

Is America Hopelessly Polarized, or Just Allergic to Politics?

This is higher than the percentage of people who reported that America is divided over issues of race and ethnicity (83 percent) or religion (77 percent). Like other recent polls and surveys, ours asked people whether they would be happy or unhappy if they had a child who married someone from the opposing party, Republican or Democratic. True polarization is when you dislike the other party and really like your own party. While this number grew to 25 percent among people who have strong connections to their party, it shrank to 10 percent of weak partisans. Weak partisans aren’t happy with an in-law from the opposing party discussing politics, but many are just as unhappy with an in-law from their own party who insists on political conversation. Other studies suggest, much like ours, that somewhere between 15 percent and 20 percent of Americans are truly polarized. In the 2018 American Family Survey, for example, only 21 percent of participants reported that it was important for a married couple to be of the same party. Looking beyond marriage, a survey conducted by The New York Times found that only 16 percent of people placed their political party membership among the top three terms they used to describe themselves. If the polarized are who comes to mind when Americans imagine a partisan, it is no wonder these Americans aren’t excited about that new in-law who supports the other party. These people may get the most attention, but they are also outnumbered by the majority who just want to discuss other things than politics.

How young people choose their news impacts how they participate in politics

They get their news primarily through social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. They select their news content themselves by actively and critically seeking information on topics that interest them from online-only sources, like YouTube or blogs. Scovill looked at how the three different news selection methods impacted young people's engagement in political activities in the following categories: voting, political activism and political campaigning. Scovill found that study participants age 18 or older who consumed elite-selected media were the most likely to say they voted in the last election, while study participants who intentionally sought out, or self-selected, their media were the most likely to participate in political activism or campaigning. Getting news from social media did not have a significant impact on political participation in any of the categories examined, although consumers of news on social media were, unsurprisingly, likely to have "liked" a political candidate on Facebook. While news consumption among young people in the dataset was generally low overall, how they selected their news still proved to make a difference in their political engagement, especially for those who self-selected their news media—which influenced political participation in every category but voting. They also were more likely to sign an online petition or attend a youth political event or protest. "That intentional process matters, whereas news on social media or elite-selected news media are coming through the choices of others who decide what is important to post on Facebook or what is important to go on the front page of the New York Times." Scovill plans to continue researching young people's political engagement and how it differs from that of generations past, as well how young people's personal identity formation contributes to their political engagement. Young people are using new forms of activism, like signing petitions online or doing their own crowdsourcing online and raising funds for things that matter to them, in ways that older generations might not be."