In political values ranging from views of government and the social safety net to opinions about immigrants, race and homosexuality, Americans are less likely than in the past to hold a mix of conservative and liberal views. At the same time, ideological consistency – the shares of Americans holding liberal or conservative views across a wider range of issues – is increasingly associated with partisanship, a recent Pew Research Center study shows. This reflects a continuation of trends documented in the Center’s 2014 study of political polarization in the American public.Overall, 32% of Americans now take a roughly equal number of conservative and liberal positions on a scale based on 10 questions asked together in seven surveys since 1994. As recently as 2015, 38% had this mix of values – and 49% did so in 1994 and 2004.Reflecting growing partisan gaps across most of the individual questions in the scale – even those where both parties have shifted in the same direction – Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades.
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