Stanford University


Affective Polarization Did Not Increase During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Matthew Gentzkow
Levi Boxell
Jacob Conway
James N. Druckman

Quarterly Journal of Political Science
August 2021

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We document trends in affective polarization during the COVID-19 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. Three of five other data sources display a similar downward trend, with two of five data sources showing no significant change. A survey experiment shows that priming respondents to think about the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduces affective polarization.

Stanford University