A recent survey by the Dutch governmental research organization SCP set out to test the perception of polarization in the country. 73% of respondents said they felt the differences between people’s opinions are growing (up from 63% in April 2020 and similar to 75% in 2019). Additionally, 60% of respondents said the conflict between people of different political parties felt (very) big.
The interesting thing though: even though people feel more polarized, the survey cites research that shows that people feel pretty similar about many topics, and we are not as divided as we think we are. So how come we feel so divided? When they asked focus groups, they hypothesized that social media platforms, a focus on extremes by the media and politicians, and divisive, ‘inescapable’ topics like Covid cause an amplified image of polarization in society.