Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Two Americas Index: The post-Roe divide

By Margaret Talev Axios

Divisions in U.S. society worsened significantly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to the latest Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.

Why it matters: From December through May, our national survey found a small window in which Americans were feeling more in common with one another — perhaps because of shared opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The June findings slammed that window shut.

Between the lines: Democrats led the intensifying sense of separation, while a growing share of independents signaled they can’t relate to people in either major party.

  • The survey was conducted within days of the June 24 ruling ending federal abortion protections.
  • One big question as the abortion fight moves to the states is whether the findings reflect a flash of heightened emotion that will subside — or a new normal that’s worse than before.

By the numbers: 85% of Democrats said they had little to nothing in common with Republicans, up from 74% in May.

  • Republicans’ share increased less, to 79% from 75%.
  • While independents still are the most likely to express some commonality across party lines, 65% now say they have little or nothing in common with either Democrats or Republicans — a big jump from 52% in May.

The big picture: Politics is the key dividing line, according to the survey.

  • 25% of respondents said they agreed with the broad sentiment that people of different racial backgrounds don’t share their values. That rose to 35% when it came people of different religious backgrounds.
  • But 45% said they don’t share values with people of different political views.

The intrigue: One question we’re polling regularly in the survey is whether respondents have shared a meal with someone of a different political party in the past year.

  • Since May, there was no statistically significant change for Republicans or independents.
  • But 54% of Democrats said they had not had a meal with Republicans — a jump from 46% a month earlier.

What they’re saying: “A lot of this is being driven by response to the Roe v. Wade decision,” said Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson.

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