A national survey indicates partisans have a pretty negative view of people who’re in the opposing party. More than 939,000 Republicans and 629,000 Democrats participated in Missouri’s presidential primaries this past March.

Caroll Doherty

Carroll Doherty

“We knew that people had grown to increasingly dislike the opposing party. The question we had was: ‘Is it getting personal?’ And, to a degree, it is,” says Carroll Doherty, political research director for the Pew Research Center.

The Pew Center’s new research shows 70% of Democrats consider Republicans “closed minded” — while 46% of Republicans think Democrats are “lazier” than Republicans. Doherty says fear of what the other party might do with power is a big motivator.

“The bottom line is that negativity is kind of more powerful than positive feelings and negativity is driving a lot of political engagement these days,” Doherty says. “And the people who are the most negative are the most highly engaged, so there’s a real connection there.”  

So-called “independent” voters are large segment of adults who are registered to cast a ballot in November, but Doherty says most of those independents tend to favor candidates of one party over the other.

 “They are more or less closet partisans and they feel very negatively about the opposing party,” Doherty says. “In other words, if they lean towards a party as most independents do — either lean towards the Republican or the Democratic Party — they don’t want to affiliate because they don’t have a particularly fond view of that party, but they also dislike the other side even more.”

 Read more about the Pew Center’s research on “partisanship and political animosity” by clicking here.

 The center’s latest survey also found 47% of Republicans consider Democrats to be “more immoral” and 55% of Democrats say the Republican Party makes them “afraid.” The Pew Research Center survey released late last month found 68% of Democrats give Trump a “zero” rating — the very end of the negative scale, while 59% of Republicans rate Clinton a zero.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson contributed to this story.