Politics /

New Poll: Republicans, Democrats Agree On 6 Fundamental Values, Yet Remain Distrustful Of Each Other

New poll data shows that an overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats agree on half a dozen fundamental values, but don’t trust that their political opponents share those values.

Starts With Us, a nonpartisan movement to overcome political tribalism, released the poll, which showed that both sides indicate they have a desire to solve problems, with 82 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats saying it is very or extremely important for people to be involved in finding solutions facing the U.S.

The poll, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of Starts With Us, found that 90 percent of people in both major parties say the following issues are very or extremely important to them:

  • A government that is accountable to the people
  • Fair and equal application of the rule of law
  • A government that is representative of the people it serves
  • Learning from the past to improve our country
  • Personal responsibility and accountability for our actions
  • Respect and compassion across differences

Despite an overwhelming majority of people in both political parties agreeing that these issues are important, only about a third believe each of these values is important to their political opponents.

“It will be impossible for Americans to move from chaos to constructive progress unless we look across the aisle and see not an enemy, but a potential partner for change,” Daniel Lubetzky, Starts With Us co-founder said in a statement. “Opening our eyes to our shared fundamental values creates the basis for us to start working together to get problems solved.”

Political polarization has been rising much faster in the U.S. compared to other nations. Some researchers partly attribute the phenomenon to cultural changes like the rise of 24-hour partisan cable news, and political parties becoming increasingly aligned with certain ideologies, races, and religious identities.

Other researchers believe that tolerance, with a focus on empathy and connection — like storytelling — can bridge ideological gaps and weaken polarization.

Starts With Us is now collaborating with Convergence Center for Policy Resolution to launch a new initiative called Citizen Solutions, which will bring politically dissimilar people together to explore issues many consider unsolvable.

“We know citizens are eager to take matters into their own hands, but they’re skeptical of their ability to make a meaningful difference,” says Ashley Phillips, Head of Programs at Starts With Us. “Citizen Solutions will give people a new way to make their voices — as well as the voice of consensus — heard in order to help prevent the most extreme voices from dominating news and policymaking.”

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