So Damn Superior: Parsing Partisan Politics

The Huffington Post:

A new Gallup poll shows that Americans’ confidence in the Congress is at an all-time low. A measly 10 percent of citizens express confidence in lawmakers, and most say they have little or no confidence. That is the worst rating of any American institution — including the military, HMOs and labor unions — since this polling began in 1973.

A lot of this disaffection has to do with the extreme partisanship that has seemingly paralyzed Capitol Hill. Today’s is not the first political stalemate in American history, but it is certainly one of the most maddening. Lawmakers — and the country itself — appear locked into extreme ideological positions that allow little if any room for compromise.

Few dispute this. But there is a lot of disagreement over who’s to blame for this mess. Some analysts point the finger at the rigid dogmatism of Republicans and conservatives, while others blame ideological extremism on both the political flanks. Still others say that it depends on the issue, that conservatives are more rigid on some issues but liberals are more unbending on others.

Psychological scientist Kaitlin Toner and her colleagues at Duke University decided to sort this out.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology.

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