There’s a lot one could say about these findings — social media driving partisan polarization, loss of trust in plenty of institutions, inadequate solidarity, and the economic stagnation and devastation driving different trends.
Pew Research Center studies a wide array of topics both in the U.S. and around the world, and every year we are struck by particular findings. Sometimes they mark a new milestone in public opinion; other times a sudden about-face. From an increase in Americans living without a spouse or partner to the impact of Donald Trump’s presidency, here are 17 findings that stood out to us in 2017:
Partisan divides dwarf demographic differences on key political values. The average gap between the views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents across 10 political values has increased from 15 percentage points in 1994 to 36 points today. Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only slightly wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment, and about as wide as differences across racial lines. Today, the partisan gaps far exceed differences across other key demographics.
Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. A global median of just 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs, according to a survey conducted last spring. The image of the U.S. abroad also suffered a decline: Just 49% have a favorable view, down from 64% at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.
In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has increased. This rise in “unpartnered” Americans, from 39% in 2007 to 42% today, has been most pronounced among young adults: Roughly six-in-ten adults younger than 35 are now living without a spouse or partner. The share of “unpartnered” adults also has risen more sharply among those who are not employed.