Political Polarization During 2017-2021


  • Akshay Padala Little Central High School
  • Lee Conrad Mentor, Little Central High School




Polarization, Healthcare, Gun control, abortion, climate change, immigration


During the Trump era there was a significant rise of hate crimes, racial bullying, and violence against the LGBTQ+ community which can be explained by political polarization. Both major political parties were pushed to the far ends of the spectrum to counteract the influence of the other side. We tested how this polarization occurs at the level of individual political issues, and study the political factors under Trump that contributed to it. We used a survey research method to collect data on peoples’ beliefs over 5 different contentious political topics (abortion, climate change, gun control, healthcare, and immigration). This data was compared to data from studies performed in 2016 (pre-Trump). To ensure standardization of the data, our survey used the same questions as the previous surveys. Along with the questions gauging opinion, we also included an individual question per issue that gauged how the participant formed that opinion. Compared to 2016 there was a shift towards more government involvement and regulation in the areas of healthcare and gun control, respectively. There was a shift towards environmental protection, and less stringent immigration standards. More participants were in favor of abortion. Most participants said they formed ALL of their political opinions individually. However, social media and major news outlets had played a role in shaping opinions about abortion and environment, respectively. Compared to 2016 surveys there was a significant change in public opinion about various issues of contemporary importance, partly influenced by political polarization and by social media and news outlets.


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How to Cite

Padala, A., & Conrad, L. (2021). Political Polarization During 2017-2021. Journal of Student Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v10i3.1817



AP Capstone™ Research