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The Geography of Partisan Prejudice

By The Atlantic

A guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in AmericaRead full story

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  • Brilliant article and research work by the Atlantic!!

    I wonder if the 2-party system exacerbates the divide. I’d be curious to see how this compares across countries where there are multiple parties...

  • This is a fantastic article. The Atlantic commissioned a detailed survey of political partisanship is every county in America to see where polarization and intolerance are most extreme. The results include some surprises, as well as room for hope.

  • When you use a proxy for a proxy for a proxy your results don’t mean much. They lack validity; there’s no reason to believe that what you’re measuring is what you think you’re measuring. They appear to have sufficient rigor for reliability, that someone could replicate the results. But they still wouldn’t really know what they were measuring.

    That aside, I live in one of the zones noted for its lack of partisan prejudice, upstate New York. And I have spent considerable time in Watertown, which was

    When you use a proxy for a proxy for a proxy your results don’t mean much. They lack validity; there’s no reason to believe that what you’re measuring is what you think you’re measuring. They appear to have sufficient rigor for reliability, that someone could replicate the results. But they still wouldn’t really know what they were measuring.

    That aside, I live in one of the zones noted for its lack of partisan prejudice, upstate New York. And I have spent considerable time in Watertown, which was singled out as a bastion of political civility.

    I have spoken with several thousand people who work in and around Watertown during a couple recent years where I did a lot of work in that area. It’s about an hour drive from my house. My observation is that I have not found those who live in and around Watertown to be any more politically open minded or tolerant than average. They’re as opinionated and divided as the rest of the country. There is a mix of political affiliations with a listing to the right, but no significantly increased respect for alternative opinions.

    Mostly this experience just reinforces my first point. I have no doubt that the researchers have measured something. I have grave doubt that they’re measuring partisan prejudice.

  • Tessa Jackson
    Tessa JacksonFaubourg Advisers

    What I found interesting about this map, when I just looked at the Deep South, is how Republicans' intolerance for Democrats seems to be highest in areas with higher black populations, and where blacks have gained some political power. Given that Democrat, like urban, has become a code word for black in political conversations, I have to wonder whether political intolerance is a proxy for racial intolerance.

  • Norman Crouse
    Norman CrouseSinger-songwriter

    While I found the article interesting,what I would prefer is a discussion of how to move away from this polarization and establish forums for civil discussion where we can genuinely try to understand each other.

  • Catherine Tannahill
    Catherine Tannahillprof, teacher

    I heard a speaker at a diversity seminar say that stereotypes are where we begin not where we end.

    Having lived many years in the NYC/Boston corridor ( moved there from the SW but was a military brat), I found this group extremely provincial & intolerant; reminding me of pre-civil rights old South in many ways including such statements from a neighbor as "would you want your kids to go to school with those people?"

  • William Wood
    William WoodOwner at William Wood

    First, I don’t trust polls. Just the way some questions are written tends to sway the answers. Second, some of what is called prejudice are non racist choices, like who I have married. When you want to stir things up, just tell all the white people you are haters and racists. With the exception, of course, journalists.

  • Shelli Griff-Ham
    Shelli Griff-Ham

    How open minded should we be to fascism and nazism?

  • Tyler Dow
    Tyler Dow

    This is a fantastic and eye-opening article.

  • Mb Purnell
    Mb Purnell

    Good stuff

  • Dan Snook
    Dan Snook

    Much ado about nothing. Hohum.

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