First Faculty Advisor
Political Polarization; Intolerance; Ideology
All rights retained by Bryant University and Nina Luiggi
Scholarly research linking conservatism to intolerance is widespread (McAdams et al, 2008; Jost et al, 2003): however, relatively little attention is paid to the impact of intolerance on the liberal side. Nevertheless, mounting empirical research and popular journalism suggests that intolerance works both ways, but that liberals are not aware of their own intolerance. Building on survey methodology used by Crawford and Pilanski (2014), the present study uses a scale of ideological consistency, intolerance judgments across a range of issues, and perceived intolerance, to explore both the intolerance levels and perceived intolerance levels of liberals and conservatives, as well as additional variables associated with intolerance. Most notably, the study demonstrates preliminary findings suggesting that even though liberals are objectively no more tolerant than conservatives, they perceive themselves to be so. In an era of intensifying ideological divide and hostility, these findings may be used to inspire further research into an apparent intolerance perception gap among liberals as a contributing factor in political polarization.