‘Exhausted majority’ feels left out by politics talk, study says. Are you one of them?

An ‘exhausted majority’ of Americans are neither progressive nor conservative — and instead feel left behind in national political discussions as they seek out compromise, says a new “Hidden Tribes” study.
An ‘exhausted majority’ of Americans are neither progressive nor conservative — and instead feel left behind in national political discussions as they seek out compromise, says a new “Hidden Tribes” study. AP

Feel left out of politics? Wish there was a way to find compromise? Don’t feel concretely tied to a particular political party?

If you answered yes, a new study says, you may be part of the “exhausted majority” of Americans.

That’s the finding of “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” a new study of 8,000 people in the U.S. that found a wide swath of Americans reject political correctness and the rigid partisanship that has come to define our modern political discourse.

They are tired of the current tension in politics, the study found, and just under 90 percent say this is the most divisive time in America during their lifetimes.

Tim Dixon — co-founder of More in Common, a group that helped conduct the study — said this study exposes the truth that many Americans have experienced within their own families and groups of friends.

“From every corner of the country,” Dixon said in a press release, “we have heard from Americans that politics is tearing apart their families and friendships, and affecting their jobs and daily life. We found that most Americans are fed up with this.

“Their views may differ on many issues,” he continued, “but a clear majority feel exhausted by the us-versus-them conflict which has spread from far-away debates in Congress to bitter disputes among neighbors, coworkers, and even family members at the Thanksgiving table.”

Researchers grouped people into seven political “tribes” by asking them questions about hot button issues such as immigration, Islamaphobia, white privilege, sexual harassment and feminism.

Just 8 percent of people belong to the most liberal group, which is called “progressive activists,” according to the study. And another 6 percent belong to the “devoted conservatives” group, while another 19 percent are considered “traditional conservatives.”

Everyone else, the study says, belongs to the “exhausted majority” — which is made up of moderates (15 percent), the politically disengaged (26 percent), passive liberals (15 percent) and traditional liberals (11 percent). In total, that is 67 percent of Americans.

Those in that group “do not conform to either partisan ideology,” the study says.

Instead, “they share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints and a lack of voice in the national conversation,” according to the study’s authors.

A wide majority of those inside the “exhausted majority” view both political correctness and hate speech as a problem, the study found. In fact, a majority of the general public agrees — with 82 percent calling political correctness a problem and 80 percent saying the same thing about hate speech.

However, a majority of devoted conservatives don’t see hate speech as a problem, the study says, while a majority of progressive activists don’t see political correctness as an issue. It shows the polarized wings of Americans having a different view than the majority.

The study provides other examples of when the polarized minority groups in America disagree with the majority of Americans.

For example, the study found that 64 percent of Americans say that people brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be offered a chance to stay as American citizens. Prior attempts to compromise on DACA, which would have done that, failed in the U.S. Senate.

Ninety-nine percent of progressive activists support DACA, the study found, while just 28 percent of devoted conservatives do.

On feminism, 54 percent of all Americans say the current movement fights “for important issues” — much less than the 94 percent of progressive activists who said the same and much more than the 8 percent of devoted conservatives who agree.

And while 99 percent of progressive activists disapprove of President Donald Trump and 98 percent of devoted conservatives approve of him, the majority of Americans fall somewhere in the middle, the study found.

Fifty-seven percent of all Americans disapproved of the president “slightly,” “somewhat” or “strongly,” the study found.

Still, some issues show Americans are evenly divided on contentious topics. Fifty-one percent said immigration “is good for America,” for example, with 49 percent saying it has negative consequences. Fifty-one percent say “too many ordinary behaviors are labeled as sexual harassment” — and another 52 percent said white privilege is a real thing that many Americans don’t know they benefit from.

But don’t fret just yet: 77 percent of Americans say “the differences between Americans are not so big that we cannot come together,” the study found.

In the press release, Dixon pinned much of the blame on social media for making Americans feel so divided.

“Social media and angry pundits are distorting the national debate,” he said. “The public is constantly shown cartoon character versions of the other side’s views.

“Most Americans — including both liberals and conservatives — are actually more reasonable than people on the other side are made to think.”