Jul 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Two Americas Index: The post-Roe divide

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Thomas Oide/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.

  • "The abortion ruling is really being felt more strongly on one side, the Democratic side. Independents, I think, are just sort of looking at the whole thing and disgusted... sort of a plague-on-both-your-houses dynamic."
  • "The question is, what's the half-life?" said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "Is it momentary and you migrate back to status quo, or not? It definitely had an effect on the American psyche. Where it leads us we're just not sure."
  • "We could be talking that a year from now we're at a different level, a lower level of cohesion, but right now we just don't know."

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted June 29-30 by Ipsos on their online survey panels in English. This poll is based on a sample of 1,003 general population adults age 18 or older, weighted on age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and location to be nationally representative.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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