There’s a fascinating new analysis available, looking at parallels between the politics of health care and the environment. It is led by Theda Skocpol, a social scientist at Harvard (whose writing about health policy and the Tea Party are wonderful).
I am reproducing one figure from that report. It shows, in lines, where Congress has voted on environmental issues over the years, showing increasing polarization. No huge surprise there. We live in politically polarized times!
In triangles and diamonds it reveals a more surprising finding: that GOP voters and Democratic voters are not nearly as polarized as their legislators. Indeed, it looks like the Republican Party has left its voters behind, and adopted much more extreme positions than most Republicans hold.