The ostensible takeaway from this Pew mega-poll is that left- and right-wing partisans are alarmingly self-segregating in their media consumption, leading to bitterness, suspicion, and political paralysis.

The actual takeaway? Liberals are jerks. Jerks, I say:

Block

Consistent liberals are also the most likely faction to drop someone as a friend over politics, although their lead over consistent conservatives is more modest on that point (24 percent to 16 percent). Consider all of this corroboration for the old saw that conservatives think most liberals are naive whereas liberals think most conservatives are evil. If you’re the kind of lefty who finds this pitch persuasive, why wouldn’t you dump your righty friends?

You know what’s most interesting about this result, though? It’s not liberals who are the most cloistered when it comes to digesting opposing political views. I would have guessed that contempt for one’s opponents goes hand-in-hand with avoiding exposure to their viewpoint; if your neighbor Bob is to be shunned because he votes Republican, naturally all Republicans and the media they patronize are to be shunned. And yet:

FriendsShare

TalkWith

Consistent conservatives lead consistent liberals by double digits when asked if most of their close friends share their political views. “Mostly” conservatives lead “mostly” liberals by double digits too. Fully 94 percent of consistent conservatives name at least one fellow conservative when asked about the three people with whom they most like to talk politics; that number is just 76 percent for consistent liberals vis-a-vis other liberals. The numbers for “mostly” conservatives are dramatic here too, with 82 percent naming at least one conservative friend (a higher percentage than the percentage of consistent liberals who talk with at least one liberal friend). That’s far more lopsided than mostly liberals, who are spread evenly among conservative, moderate, and liberal friends.

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