Americans Most Divided on Social and Cultural Issues
Listed below are all thirty-nine survey propositions ranked by the degree to which they polarize American opinion. This polarizing effect was calculated by determining the standard deviation, which measures how much the full field of answers to a proposition diverges from the average answer. The higher the standard deviation for a particular proposition, the more polarizing, and thus higher ranked, that proposition is.
Rank and proposition
1 Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry legally.
2 Public school teachers should be allowed to lead prayers in school.
3 Immigration into America should be reduced no matter how well immigrants assimilate.
4 Abortion should be available at any stage and for any reason.
5 The Ten Commandments are irrelevant today.
6 Government must act to curb global warming.
7 Raising the minimum wage decreases employment.
8 Universities should allow students to live in a dorm room with the opposite sex.
9 The Bible is the Word of God.
10 America’s Founding documents are obsolete.
11 The American Founders opposed universal health care.
12 America corrupts otherwise good people.
13 American government should do more to solve international problems.
14 Taxing the rich to help the poor reduces work and investment.
15 Discrimination is the most urgent problem in America.
16 Religion and science typically conflict.
17 Religion provides indispensable support for self-government.
18 Republicans and Democrats are similar in their beliefs.
19 Universities should ensure a balance of liberal and conservative views among faculty.
20 Legislators should subsidize a college in proportion to its students learning about America.
21 Homeschooling families neglect their community obligations.
22 Global capitalism produces a few winners and many losers.
23 Competitive political parties improve public policy.
24 Legislators should suspend all tax dollars for a college after its endowment exceeds one billion dollars.
25 Educators should instill more doubt in students and reject certainty.
26 The free market brings about full employment.
27 Government regulation does more good than harm.
28 America is a model of freedom and justice for the world.
29 America’s media covers rival political views fairly.
30 Latino immigrants are assimilating well into America.
31 With hard work and perseverance anyone can succeed in America.
32 Society is identical to government.
33 Local zoning laws improve communities.
34 Prosperity depends upon entrepreneurs and free markets.
35 America is the world’s greatest melting pot where people from all countries can unite into one nation.
36 Colleges should prepare citizen leaders by teaching America’s history, its key texts, and its institutions.
37 A person’s evaluation of a nation improves with his or her understanding of that nation.
38 Profit accrues to those organizations that help people.
39 Educators should focus on teaching the technical skills for competing in the global economy.