Politics, More than Age, Gender or Race, divides Americans
A new Pew Research Center study released on Tuesday suggests that the country is more divided than it ever has been along partisan lines. It said the differences between Republicans and Democrats are far more than those between the different genders, ages, races and incomes in the country.
Forty percent of the Republicans surveyed agreed that it is the responsibility of the government to care for its citizens who cannot take care of themselves, that compared to 75% of the Democrats. Since 1987, that gap has grown wider by 20%.
If the report had a bright spot, it was that the difference in education and income levels over the questions about social mobility are not any wider now than 25 years ago.
Fifty percent of the lower-income respondents said that success for them in life is for the most part beyond a person’s control, while just 22% of the upper class respondents believed the same. College graduates also tend to be more likely to think a person has control over his or her success in life.
These answers come at a time of even more widening between incomes, as the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. Republicans have criticized President Obama for engaging in the use of class warfare by trying to force wealthier people to pay more taxes than they presently do.
The belief that there is personal control over the financial destiny of an individual sets Americans apart from their counterparts in a number of nations in Western Europe. A Global Attitudes survey done by Pew in 2011 said that 72% of the people in Germany and 57% in France agree that success is due to outside forces, compared to 36% of Americans.