Analysis: 3 takeaways from the Pew report on political polarization


By Lesley Weidenbener


INDIANAPOLIS – Americans on both ends of the political spectrum have at least a couple things in common: They are more likely to follow government and political news closely and then lead conversations with others about the topics.

In fact, the 20 percent of people who are either far right or far left of center “have a greater impact on the political process than do those with more mixed ideological views,” says the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

“They are the most likely to vote, donate to campaigns and participate directly in politics,” according to Pew, which is spending a year studying political polarization – and in particular where Americans get their information about politics and government and how they share it.

In a report this week, Pew detailed some of what it has found. Here are three key takeaways:

Consistent conservatives rely on a smaller number of news sources than consistent liberals.

Most Americans rely on a variety of media outlets to gather their news. But conservatives are “tightly clustered around a single news source,” Pew reports.

Which one? No surprise. It’s Fox News. Nearly half of consistent conservatives say the network is their primary source of government and political news.

Striking Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives, But They Also Share Common Ground

Liberals, on the other hand, turn to a wider range of news sources. And some of those – most notably NPR and the New York Times – are sources that other Americans use less, Pew says.

Americans closer to the middle of the political spectrum say they use CNN, local TV and Fox News, along with Yahoo News and Google News, Pew reports.

Liberals are more likely to trust news sources than conservatives

Pew says that liberals express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. But those liberals don’t trust just anyone. They are highly distrustful of – you guessed it – Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Conservatives trust far fewer news sources. Some of those are well-known: the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. But others are niche publications, including The Blaze and Breitbart.

“The ideological differences are especially stark,” Pew reports.

Liberals are more likely to de-friend someone on Facebook because of their political views.

In fact, Pew says liberals are also more willing to end a personal friendship over political disagreements.

“Consistent liberals who pay attention to politics on Facebook are also more likely than others to ‘like’ or follow issue-based groups: 60 percent do this, compared with 46 percent of consistent conservatives and just a third of those with mixed views,” Pew reports.

Consistent conservatives, though, are twice as likely as a typical Facebook user to see viewpoints that are similar to their own.

Want to learn more and find out how respondents were categorized on the political spectrum? Go to for more details.


  1. This PEW survey tells us nothing except that our government has more control over our media than the media sources themselves. Since Fox is only one of ‘very few’ honest sources we have to turn to, it is quite difficult for those of us who desire truth to find truth, thus why the difference. liberals on the ohter love lies and have at their disposal many sources. Lies which are rampant in this country now, with corrupt media outlets such as MSNBC, NBC, ABC, New York Times, etc., etc., etc., etc.. They have CEO’s who’s spouses AND other family members are working for the CURRENT admin inside our White House in nice cozy jobs, whereas sources such as Fox has NONE, no, not even one. Therein lies the difference. Truth is virtually impossible to find among the liberal media for this reason only. Their reporters are not allowed to report the REAL facts, not even close. Liberal viewers know in their minds, but tune in anyway only to feed their itchy ears with more lies to appease their brainwashed ideologies. This survey should be thrown in the trash and burned to cinders. It’s based on one-sided facts only.

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