Affective Polarization Did Not Increase During the Coronavirus Pandemic
We document trends in affective polarization during the coronavirus pandemic. In our main measure, affective polarization is relatively flat between July 2019 and February 2020, then falls significantly around the onset of the pandemic. Two other data sources show no evidence of an increase in polarization around the onset of the pandemic. Finally, we show in an experiment that priming respondents to think about the coronavirus pandemic significantly reduces affective polarization.
We acknowledge funding from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Northwestern University, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Institute for Humane Studies, and the National Science Foundation (grant number: DGE-1656518). Anna Wang provided excellent research assistance.The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.