How do Americans feel about various institutional symbols and identities?

Certain values are important across all parties, but many concepts continue to display a partisan divide.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, May 4, 2018 - Today's society has become not only extremely politicized, but polarized as well. With this in mind, Ipsos has examined the public favorability of various societal institutions, identities, and groups to determine which have fallen into this polarization and which remain bipartisan symbols that both Democrats and Republicans can identify with. 

Principled, aspirational characteristics score the highest favorability rankings among all Americans and show very little divisiveness between Democrats and Republicans. The top eight topics deemed favorable by Americans were all personal traits: being intelligent and responsibility are viewed favorably by 93% of Americans, followed by taking care of others (92% favorable), being creative or innovative (92%), being self-reliant (91%), being independent (90%), avoiding debt (90%), and caring for the well-being of future generations (89%). There was very little difference in the percentage of Republicans or Democrats rating these ideas as favorable. 

Although Americans agree on the favorability of these topics, a clear partisan divide can be seen when considering certain people, symbols, and ideas, namely the Black Lives Matter movement, feminists, Ronald Reagan, and the Tea Party. Black Lives Matter and feminists show the greatest absolute divide along party lines. More than 8 in 10 Democrats (82%) feel favorable toward Black Lives Matter, while just 30% of Republicans feel the same - a 52-point difference. Feminists, the second most divisive item, are also viewed much more favorably by Democrats (78%) than Republicans (35%; a 43 point difference). On the other side, of all the people, symbols, and ideas listed, Ronald Reagan is the most divisive in which Republicans hold the more favorable view. A vast majority of Republicans (87%) view Ronald Reagan favorably, compared to just 51% of Democrats. Following closely behind Reagan, in terms of net favorability difference, is the Tea Party, for which 57% of Republicans view favorably, compared to just 22% of Democrats. 

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025

Mallory Newall
Director, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014

About the Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted April 26-27, 2018. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,004 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 407 Democrats, 357 Republicans, and 149 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’s online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online nonprobability sampling polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,004, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=3.5).

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.9% for Republicans, and plus or minus 9.2 percentage points for Independents.

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.
With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs

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