Democrats and Republicans have polarized in their attitudes and their feelings toward each other. Simultaneously, both groups also diverge in their factual perceptions of reality. This experiment examined how this factual belief polarization may or may not fuel ideological and affective polarization around income differences, immigration, climate change, and defense spending. Democrats and Republicans were equally or more divided in their beliefs about the present than in their ideals for the future. Corrective information decreased polarization over some ideals, but not policy attitudes. Priming perceptions conversely increased polarization around defense spending, but not other issues. Much remains unclear about the complex relation between factual beliefs and polarization, but measuring ideals and priming beliefs could be promising avenues for future research.
Factual belief polarization between Democrats and Republicans: Source or epiphenomenon of ideological and affective polarization?
26 October 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.