The current government shutdown has both Republicans and Democrats laying blame, with each side claiming the other won’t compromise. While science can’t fix political gridlock, it can answer one big question: Is one side naturally more intransigent than the other?
New research suggests not. In fact, political liberals and political conservatives are approximately equally convinced of the superiority of their views — though which views they feel smug about differ. Conservatives, for example, are certain their views on the income tax rate are superior, while liberals are sure they know best about government welfare programs.
The study researchers looked at average Americans, not politicians, and they didn’t examine whether either side’s beliefs were objectively true. Still, there’s reason to believe the results reflect on the current congressional standoff, said study researcher Kaitlin Toner, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
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