Extra in Frequent’s new research is titled “American Fabric: Identity and Belonging.” It builds on information gathered in three nationwide surveys of greater than 8,000 People, and extends the findings of its much-discussed 2018 report, “Hidden Tribes.” That earlier research sorted modern People into seven teams, every representing a definite political/ideological orientation. From left to proper, these teams have been Progressive Activists (who account for Eight p.c of the inhabitants), Conventional Liberals (11 p.c), Passive Liberals (15 p.c), Politically Disengaged (26 p.c), Moderates (15 p.c), Conventional Conservatives (19 p.c), and Devoted Conservatives (6 p.c).
Because the 2018 survey documented, the small however strident “tribes” on the far ends of the bell curve — the left-wing Progressive Activists and the right-wing Conventional and Devoted Conservatives — are usually essentially the most hardline. These are additionally the teams that dominate celebration politics and make a lot noise on social media. They’re the least versatile ideologically and the almost certainly to say that “individuals I agree with politically want to stay to their beliefs and battle.” The opposite teams — which Extra in Frequent dubs the “Exhausted Majority” — usually tend to imagine that “individuals I agree with politically should be prepared to hearken to others and compromise.”
In its new report, Extra in Frequent explores how individuals in america really feel about their nation and their place in it. It kinds its findings each by “tribe” and by conventional demographic markers — race, gender, age, and so forth. What emerges is a nation with loads of disagreement in terms of problems with race, historical past, and America’s position on the planet, but remarkably united in love of nation.
Unsurprisingly for a research carried out in 2020, questions on racial justice and equity revealed broad disparities in outlook. When requested whether or not, in contrast with different international locations’ inhabitants, “People have traditionally handled one another poorly,” progressives and liberals overwhelmingly mentioned sure, as did Blacks, Democrats, and Technology Z respondents. In contrast, conservatives, Republicans, and the Silent Technology (these born earlier than 1945) have been the almost certainly to say no. Whites have been cut up 50-50.
In a unique method to the identical challenge, members have been requested whether or not they agreed that “individuals like me should not seen as being ‘American sufficient.’” Whereas 73 p.c of white People didn’t really feel that means, roughly that share of Black and Asian People did. But responses to a different query — “How typically do you’re feeling that individuals like you’re undesirable or disliked in America?” — have been extra evenly divided. Among the many aged, fewer than 1 in four mentioned they typically felt undesirable or disliked, however the ratio was a lot larger amongst most different teams. By slim majorities, Progressive Activists, Devoted Conservatives, Millennials, Gen Zers, and Black, Hispanic, and Asian People all reported feeling that means. Total, 47 p.c of People expressed that sense of rejection.
Does that signify that America is a dysfunctional nation hopelessly mired in mutual resentment? Or does it replicate the truth that in any society as massive, heterogeneous, and sophisticated as ours, there’ll all the time be tensions, even at the perfect of occasions? There’s appreciable friction right here, however there’s additionally appreciable goodwill: Throughout the board, majorities of People say they’ve buddies whose politics they disagree with.
To my thoughts, essentially the most vital takeaway from “American Fabric” is just not that giant numbers of People are sometimes vital of their nation, or really feel disrespected by fellow residents. It’s that, regardless of the whole lot, People have a powerful affection for his or her nation — an affection deeply rooted and broadly shared.
For instance, when requested whether or not they agree with the assertion “I’m proud to be American,” a majority — normally a big majority — in just about each class say sure. Conventional Liberals and Conventional Conservatives, Child Boomers and Millennials, women and men, Black and white, low-income and high-income, Democrats and Republicans — no matter else they could differ on, they’re united by pleasure of their nation. The one exception was the leftmost “tribe,” Progressive Activists, of whom solely 34 p.c referred to as themselves proud to be American.
Equally placing is how grateful People really feel. A majority of each group — no exceptions — agreed that “I’m grateful to be American.” Absolutely 80 p.c of respondents endorsed that sentiment, with solely slight variations throughout strains of race, age, gender, and revenue.
America simply got here by means of essentially the most divisive election yr in residing reminiscence. The polarization of our political and media cultures is all too actual, and gained’t disappear quickly. However there’s extra widespread floor beneath us than we have a tendency to appreciate. Practically all People are happy with their nation and grateful to be a part of it, and almost all People fear about its future. Ideological hostility isn’t written into our nationwide DNA. The extra we are able to tune out the strident voices on the extremes, the extra we’ll discover that the identification binding us as People supersedes our partisan divisions.