Sixty five percent (65%) of voters believe the United States is more divided and polarized today than at any previous time in history. A Scott Rasmussen national survey found that 18% disagree and 17% are not sure.
That is quite a staggering perception given the violence and unrest of the 1960s and the Civil War in the 1860s. It may be partially attributable to social media platforms that make just about all Americans aware that others vehemently disagree with their world view.
Additionally, the federal government plays a much larger role in the lives of everyday Americans than ever before. A system that requires one-size-fits-all rules applied in every corner of the nation is more likely to highlight differences than a system allowing state and local governments to offer alternatives.
Finally, of course, any question comparing our time to previous generations is subject to the tyranny of now. All generations tend to see their time on earth as uniquely challenging. On top of that, the passions of today’s disagreements seem far more vivid than those we read about in history books.
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Note: Neither Scott Rasmussen, ScottRasmussen.com, nor RMG Research, Inc. have any affiliation with Rasmussen Reports. While Scott Rasmussen founded that firm, he left more than seven years ago and has had no involvement since that time.
Is the United States today more divided and polarized than at any previous time in history?
17% Not sure
The survey of 1,200 Registered Voters was conducted online by Scott Rasmussen on December 16-17, 2021. Field work for the survey was conducted by RMG Research, Inc. Certain quotas were applied, and the sample was lightly weighted by geography, gender, age, race, education, internet usage, and political party to reasonably reflect the nation’s population of Registered Voters. Other variables were reviewed to ensure that the final sample is representative of that population.