The choice of where to live is a natural extension of the phenomena whereby politics invades an increasing number of our non-political decisions.
Charlottesville, VA (PRWEB) December 10, 2013
Do “Red America” and a “Blue America” exist? New research suggests that they increasingly do. Research by political psychologist Matt Motyl, Ranker data scientist Ravi Iyer, and their colleagues Shigehiro Oishi, Sophie Trawalter, and Brian Nosek, demonstrates that liberals and conservatives are moving into communities that reinforce their political preferences. This tendency leads to ideological segregation – that is, the creation of an ever-bluer and ever-redder communities across America.
In one national sample of more than one million Americans, the researchers found that 58% of people moved from one community to another. Among people living in communities with political values similar to their own, only 50% of people reported moving. Among people living in communities with political values conflicting with their own, a striking 80% reported moving. Moreover, when these people moved, they moved to communities with political leanings and opinions more similar to their own. "The choice of where to live is a natural extension of the phenomena whereby politics invades an increasing number of our non-political decisions," opined Ravi Iyer, data scientist at Ranker.
In another national sample, liberals living in communities that voted more heavily for Governor Romney or Senator McCain wanted to move to a new community. Similarly, conservatives living in communities that voted more heavily for President Obama wanted to move to a new community. Liberals and conservatives, alike, expressed feeling that they did not belong in these communities. Through follow-up experiments, the researchers found that this desire to move to a new community was fully explained by this feeling of not belonging in communities that hold political values at odds with the participants’ political values. In other words, when liberals and conservatives felt that they did not belong, they wanted to move. When they moved, they moved to places that better fit their political values. This results in communities across America becoming more “Red” and more “Blue.”
Political segregation has a number of negative consequences. Most importantly, it reduces the likelihood that Americans will form relationships with people who have different political values. As the personal relationships across the political divide decrease, the personal attacks across the political divide increase. When people feel that their beliefs are under attack, they become more dogmatic and less likely to compromise. The reluctance to compromise makes it more difficult for elected officials to solve the major problems facing America today and more likely that America will be forced to cope with more threats of defaulting on its credit, government shutdowns, and a general inability to pass comprehensive legislation.
Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Oishi, S., Trawalter, S., & Bosek, BA (2013). How ideological migration geographically segregates groups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2013.10.010