Americans have suddenly gotten suspicious of their children having interparty weddings. That's bad news for an already hyperpolarized nation.
Jim Warren wrote about some heartening research on polarization today. A new paper suggests a greater degree of empathy between partisans than we might expect -- which, Warren writes, offers hope that the U.S. isn't doomed to neverending partisan deadlock.
Now, for a response from the other side.
Via Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, Claude Fischer noted a study that casts a rather more pessimistic light on matters partisan.
A pair of surveys asked Americans a more concrete question: in 1960, whether they would be "displeased" if their child married someone outside their political party, and, in 2010, would be "upset" if their child married someone of the other party. In 1960, about 5 percent of Americans expressed a negative reaction to party intermarriage; in 2010, about 40 percent did (Republicans about 50 percent, Democrats about 30 percent).
That's pretty astounding. Drum helpfully made the chart above. Why Republicans have grown resistant more quickly is unclear, although they've historically tended to have chillier feelings about Democrats than vice versa. For comparison, look at how Americans' attitudes about interracial marriage have changed over roughly the same period:
The questions aren't quite parallel, but one could probably assume safely that most Americans would rather have their child marry someone of a different color than a different political party. On the one hand, progress!