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American Politics: Polarized And Nonpolarized Distributions (Research Paper Sample)
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American Politics: Polarization
American Politics: Polarization
The general perception has been that the contemporary political polarization in the United States (U.S) is disturbingly high. The rift between congressional Republicans and Democrats has debatable resulted in a stagnated economy in the U.S, hence, underscoring considerable hurdles to establishing bipartisan policies around the fundamental economic, social, and environmental barriers of the present times (Zurcher, 2013). A group of social scientists has debated that polarization at Capitol Hill demonstrates and is instigated by polarization perceived by the American public (Abramowitz, 2013). Common Republicans are perceived to demonstrate partisan attitudes that are qualitatively dissimilar from that of common Democrats, as reiterated in the general peculiarity involving ‘blue states’ and ‘red states’. For instance, liberal Democrats are perceived to front bloated government and elated spending while conservative Republicans front for a lean government and minimized spending. Hitherto other social scientists observe that the extent of attitude polarization involving the two political facets is overstated, both in the perception of the general public and in the assessments of social scientists (Seyle& Newman, 2006). The gap arising from much of the concept of political polarization – both within the general opinion and academic circles – is the incorporation common Americans’ notion of polarization involving Democrats and Republicans (Westfall et al., 2015). This paper, hence, serves to deliberate on contrasting assessments of political polarization in the American public and evidences of such polarization.
For much time now, much focus has been on the increasing elite polarization in the U.S. while investigations on polarization of the American public have received considerably minimal attention (Fiorina & Abrams, 2008). Political polarization is a peril to the level that it instigates orientation along diverse lines of probable conflict and aligns persons and groups around limited identities, hence condensing interests into opposing blocs. In this dimension, opinion orientation, and not opinion radicalization, constitutes the form of polarization that more likely to elicit adverse effects onpolitical stability and social integration (Baldassarri &Gelman, 2008). Evidences of public polarization have been reported to present challenges of interference which make conclusions difficult. One of the widely perceived evidence is the Americans’ opinion on public policy matters, which elicits insignificant association with elevated public polarization over some time now. Nonetheless, party sorting – an elevated association involving partisan identification and policy opinions – apparently exists, yet the magnitude has often been overstated. Equally, geographic polarization, the theorized inclination of like-minded persons to group together, has largely been indefinite. Fiorina and Abrams (2008) report that no comprehensive evidence has been fronted to support the claim that elite polarization has positively influenced public polarization or public withdrawal from politics.
Public polarization: its identification and measurement
The English dictionary underscores polarization as concurrent occurrence of narrative contrasting or contradictory principles, propensities, or opinions. Not far from the point, Fiorina and Abrams (2008) conceive polarization as a bimodal distribution of opinions. Whereas most scholars would recognize bimodality a fundamental pretext for a distribution to assume the polarization tag, a limited number would consider it a satisfactory condition. Elsewhere, Fiorina and Abrams (...
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