Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Growing party polarization directly results from increasing economic inequalities, racial tensions and the idea that the white majority is now a minority. This paper identifies the sources of party polarization. Combining social, economic, and racial factors, it builds on popular scholarly works that show white people feel left behind. Acknowledging that income inequality is the root of polarization, the paper argues that the interaction between race, economics and social status provides a more well-rounded look at party polarization. Party polarization has caused an increase in non-college-educated people participating in voting. This, in turn, led to Donald Trump’s popularity. This study pulls from exit polls from the last three US Presidential elections to conduct an extensive statistical analysis. The study also uses polling from Gallup and United States Federal Reserve Board’s 2020 Survey of Household Economics and Decision Making (SHED). Findings reveal that people are voting more conservatively based on education and income. These findings indicate that party polarization is on the rise due to a divide in income and education but not on the basis of race.