Director of the Center for Political
Participation
Professor of Political Science
Allegheny College
Daniel M. Shea, Lead Author
Joanne C. Green
Chris Smith
•History of Dirty Talk (In Politics, That is)
•Public Perceptions of Civility in American Politics
•The Polarization Debat...
Congressman Joe Wilson
“You lie”
•Racial slurs at African-American members
of Congress;
•A legislator was spat on as he en...
•A U.S. Senator called George W.
Bush a “liar;”
•“I sometimes feel that Alfred E.
Neuman is in charge in Washington;”
•Sar...
“It’s a mistake not to see
something new, something
raw and bitter and
dangerous, in the particular
moment we’re in”
“Ther...
48%
10%
39%
2%
Figure 7. Perceptions of Civility
in Politics
Decline in civility
in American
politics
Increase in
civility...
95.4%
2.6%1.9%
Figure 4. Is Civility inPolitics
Important?
Yes, it is
important
No, it is not
important
NS
87%
10%
4%
Figure 5. Possible to Disagree
Respectfully?
It is possible
for people to
disagree
respectfully
Nasty
exchanges...
71%
84%
91% 87% 86%
18-24 25-34 35-54 55-69 70+
* Respondents were asked if it is it is possible for people to
disagree re...
60%
42%
16% 18%
28%
46%
57%
79%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
Most of
the time
Some of
the time
Only now
and then
Hardly
at all
Howof...
50%
47%
37%
57%
34%
44%
57%
35%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Television Internet Newspapers Radio
Whichisyourmainsou...
9%
52%
26%
67%
5%
22%
19%
41% 43%
Democratic Republican Independent
Respondents' Self-labeledPartyID
Figure 18. Who's to B...
25%
37%
38%
40%
42%
46%
58%
59%
61%
61%
65%
70%
RachelMaddow
Collegesanduniversities
Latenight talkshowprograms,like Stewa...
45%
49%
6%
Figure 24. Which is
More Important?
The ability to
compromise
The
willingness to
stand firm
Other/Not
Sure
55%
59%
52%
34%
17%
50%
40%
36%
43%
60%
72%
50%
Progressive Liberal Moderate Conservative Very
Conservative
Libertarian
Se...
•Civility and the 2010 Election:
• 1st wave September 1 – 3
• 2nd wave October 30- November 2
•Profiles in Civility Projec...
Period Democrats Independents Republicans
Period 1 60 liberals, 100 moderates 40 liberals
40 conservatives 60 conservative...
Sean
Hannity
Click image for link.
Rachel Maddow
Click image for link.
Click image for link.
Some people have alleged that
Barack Obama sympathizes with
the goals of Islamic
fundamentalists who want to
impose Islami...
"If you would be singing like
this two thousand years ago,
people would have stoned you.“
"Shave off your beard and wear
a...
8%
13%
24%
24%
28%
31%
32.1%
32.4%
Community organizations
Churches
News media
Families
Colleges and universities
Electedo...
77%
19%
3%
Figure 37. Should Schools Teach
Respect In Politics?
Yes
No
NotSure
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics
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Dan Shea - An Exploration of Civility in American Politics

  1. 1. Director of the Center for Political Participation Professor of Political Science Allegheny College
  2. 2. Daniel M. Shea, Lead Author Joanne C. Green Chris Smith
  3. 3. •History of Dirty Talk (In Politics, That is) •Public Perceptions of Civility in American Politics •The Polarization Debate •The Rise of Rights Talk •The Partisan Press: The Rush, Glenn, and Rachel Show •Citizen United the Flood of Outside Money •Cognitive Psychology: Tribalism in American Politics •Cultural Changes: Get the Hell off My Island! •Remedies
  4. 4. Congressman Joe Wilson “You lie” •Racial slurs at African-American members of Congress; •A legislator was spat on as he entered the Capitol to vote; •Outburst on the floor of the House and Senate ; •Commentators unrepentant in their use of incendiary language; •Death threats against legislators; •Bricks thrown through legislative office windows; •A coffin left at the door of a congressperson.
  5. 5. •A U.S. Senator called George W. Bush a “liar;” •“I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington;” •Sarah Palin threatened; •The violence summer town hall meetings came from opponents and supporters of reform. •The special case of Alan Grayson…
  6. 6. “It’s a mistake not to see something new, something raw and bitter and dangerous, in the particular moment we’re in” “There probably isn’t a Republican leader who has not in the past few years been menaced, and in exactly the same ways as the Democrats.” Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
  7. 7. 48% 10% 39% 2% Figure 7. Perceptions of Civility in Politics Decline in civility in American politics Increase in civility in American politics Civility is about the same Not Sure
  8. 8. 95.4% 2.6%1.9% Figure 4. Is Civility inPolitics Important? Yes, it is important No, it is not important NS
  9. 9. 87% 10% 4% Figure 5. Possible to Disagree Respectfully? It is possible for people to disagree respectfully Nasty exchanges are unavoidable NS
  10. 10. 71% 84% 91% 87% 86% 18-24 25-34 35-54 55-69 70+ * Respondents were asked if it is it is possible for people to disagree respectfully, or are nasty exchanges unavoidable? Figure 6. Possible toDisagree Respectfully by Age
  11. 11. 60% 42% 16% 18% 28% 46% 57% 79% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Most of the time Some of the time Only now and then Hardly at all Howoftendo youfollowwhat'sgoingon inpolitics? Figure 8. Perception of Civility by Paying Attention to Politics There has been a decline in civility in American politics There has been an increase in civility in American politics Civility is about the same
  12. 12. 50% 47% 37% 57% 34% 44% 57% 35% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Television Internet Newspapers Radio Whichisyourmainsource of news? Figure 9. Perceptionof Civility by Source of News There has been a decline in civility in American politics There has been an increase in civility in American politics Civility is about the same
  13. 13. 9% 52% 26% 67% 5% 22% 19% 41% 43% Democratic Republican Independent Respondents' Self-labeledPartyID Figure 18. Who's to Blame by Respondents' Party ID Democrats Republicans Bothabout the same
  14. 14. 25% 37% 38% 40% 42% 46% 58% 59% 61% 61% 65% 70% RachelMaddow Collegesanduniversities Latenight talkshowprograms,like Stewart andLeno GlennBeck Blogs Theway young people act inpolitics Senseof entitlement among averagecitizens ChangesinAmericanculture Radiotalk shows Televisionnews programs Competitivenessof elections Politicalparties Figure21.WhoorWhat Has PushedPoliticsToBecomeLessCivil?
  15. 15. 45% 49% 6% Figure 24. Which is More Important? The ability to compromise The willingness to stand firm Other/Not Sure
  16. 16. 55% 59% 52% 34% 17% 50% 40% 36% 43% 60% 72% 50% Progressive Liberal Moderate Conservative Very Conservative Libertarian Self-labeledIdeology Figure 25. Compromise or StandFirmby Ideology The ability to compromise The willingness to stand firm
  17. 17. •Civility and the 2010 Election: • 1st wave September 1 – 3 • 2nd wave October 30- November 2 •Profiles in Civility Project •Deeper Understanding of Causes •New Book Project
  18. 18. Period Democrats Independents Republicans Period 1 60 liberals, 100 moderates 40 liberals 40 conservatives 60 conservatives Period 2 80 liberals 100 moderates 20 liberals 20 conservatives 80 conservatives
  19. 19. Sean Hannity Click image for link.
  20. 20. Rachel Maddow Click image for link.
  21. 21. Click image for link.
  22. 22. Some people have alleged that Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. From what you know about Obama, what is your opinion of these allegations? Do you think they are… 7% 24% 36% 25% 8% Definitely True Probably True Probably Not True Definitely Not True Don't Know
  23. 23. "If you would be singing like this two thousand years ago, people would have stoned you.“ "Shave off your beard and wear a dress. You would be a great female impersonator." Simon Cowell on American Idol
  24. 24. 8% 13% 24% 24% 28% 31% 32.1% 32.4% Community organizations Churches News media Families Colleges and universities Electedofficials Political parties Localschools Figure 38. WhoShouldLead The Way To More Civil Politics?
  25. 25. 77% 19% 3% Figure 37. Should Schools Teach Respect In Politics? Yes No NotSure

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