Political polarization in the United States has surged over the last generation, turning Americans against each other to unprecedented degrees. With the 2022 midterm election cycle getting underway, it’s worth asking: how deep does the distrust run? Does it affect where people move and how they think about their neighborhood?
Zumper conducted a survey of 1,500 members of the general population to find out, and the results are sobering. In response to the question, “Would you move to an area that did not match your political leaning?”, more people answered no (35.8 percent) than yes (34.6 percent), while 29.7 percent answered that they already live in an area that doesn’t match their political beliefs.
Respondents who identified as Democrats (39.9 percent) were more likely than Republicans (35.7 percent) to say they wouldn’t move to an area that didn’t match their political leaning, and more Democrats said they wouldn’t move to an area that didn’t match their political leaning than said they would. Conversely, more Republicans said they would move to an area that didn’t match their political leaning (42.5 percent) than those who wouldn’t.
The percentage of people who would move to an area that didn’t match their political leaning drops as respondents get older. In the 18 to 29 age bracket, 43.9 percent said they would, while just 30.2 percent of those 60 and older said they would.
Respondents also said that an area’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic could negatively impact their interest in moving there, with 38 percent saying it would, 27.1 percent saying it wouldn’t, and 35 percent saying it would depend on the specifics.
The percentage of people who said an area’s handling of the pandemic would negatively impact their interest in moving there drops as people get older. In the 18 to 29 age bracket, 47.4 percent said handling the pandemic would negatively impact their interest, while 31.3 percent of respondents over the age of 60 said it would negatively impact their interest.
Mask and vaccine mandates are also a sticking point—but only for Republicans. Only 44.8 percent of Republicans said they would move to an area that imposed a mask mandate of any kind, compared with 86.3 percent of Democrats. Vaccine mandates are slightly less popular than mask mandates among both groups, with 37.7 percent of Republicans and 82.9 percent of Democrats saying they’d move to an area with a vaccine mandate.
Courtesy Zumper/by Jeff Andrews