- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2017

An ambitious new study by the Pew Research Center reveals there is no love lost between the major political parties. Their mutual distaste for one another has intensified.

“About eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (81 percent) have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, based on an average of surveys conducted this year — with 44 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Two decades ago, a smaller majority of Democrats (57 percent) viewed the GOP unfavorably, and just 16 percent held a very unfavorable view,” the researchers say.

“The share of Republicans with highly negative opinions of the Democratic Party has followed a similar trajectory. Currently, 81 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners have an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party, with 45 percent taking a very unfavorable view. In 1994, 68 percent of Republicans had a negative view of the Democratic Party; just 17 percent had a very unfavorable opinion.”

The survey also revealed that the gap between the political values of Republicans and Democrats is now larger than at any time since 1994, when the organization first started gauging opinions on 10 major issues — including immigration, military strength and the role of government. They are at “record levels,” the organization says.

Some 23 years ago, only 15 percentage points separated the average Republican and Democratic responses to the same question. Now that gap is 36 percentage points.

In the meantime, Republicans and Democrats have very different opinions on some touchy issues.

56 percent of Americans say the government is almost always wasteful and inefficient; 69 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

43 percent overall say the government can’t afford to help the needy; 69 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent overall say the best way to ensure peace is through military strength; 53 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall say immigrants are a burden on the country; 44 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 5,009 U.S. adults conducted June 8-18 and June 27-July 9 and released Thursday.

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