The article refers to approval ratings of the President beng divided along party lines.
There was no discussion of divisions between people. You could infer such divisions, but there are other explanations. I think the divisions are more products of the media manipulating perceptions of politicans, rather then actual divisions regarding opinions on policy.
I think it's a good poll in the sense that it makes it obvious why presidents have higher approval ratings than congress even though they are all bloody fools. Presidents are propped up in approval ratings by their cult of personality ways and along party lines. They are not party neutral. That's it. It's not a good job assessment poll. It's just a party line indicator of the country at whole. If we had a good thinking public, they couldn't possibly point out enough differences in the way Obama and Bush have governed to warrant a 76 point spread completely overturning from one favorable extreme to the other except for no other reason than by being wholly dependent on which idiot marches under whichever banner.
I've felt, for a long time, that neither major party seems concerned about what's best for the country they're supposed to be running. As you pointed out, Stoked, it's more of an Us v. Them mentality. Media has a lot to do with it. I'm not talking about general news outlets, but rather types like Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, and Keith Olbermann, and Bill Maher who feed the fire. The "other party" is wrong, no matter what. For some reason, people let these guys do their thinking for them, in droves. We need more Jon Stewart types.
We only progress through compromise. There is no other way.
But I'm not holding my breath.
I would put J Stewart in the same category....
on the other hand, I would say that it is just as much a problem , if not more, that too many journalists spend too much time just trying to air both sides, without giving sufficient consideration to what side is right.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the D's and R's are just two sides of the same coin. If we are in serious trouble with our national debt and everybody in DC knows it, why hasn't either party done anything to reduce it? In the last 10-20 years, both party's have had their turn to "steer the ship" and what have they done? They piss and moan about what a crappy job the other guys are doing steering and then when they get their turn to stick to the same course.
It's one thing to say people on both sides contribute to this, but it's quite another thing to say that it's somehow equal in magnitude. It's pretty obvious that lunatics on the right are a lot more dangerous than the ones on the left and a lot more at fault for ****ing up America. You need look no further than the difference in impact of the Occupy movement and the Tea Party.
Right = Republican, Establishment, Conservative.
Left = Democrat, New Ideas, (In theory)
The stances on particular issues can change.
For example , historically, Republicans may have supported environmental conservation, but now they are not known for that. A few decades ago, the Democrats may have been thought of as favoring reduced military spending, but in practice both parties increase spending on weapons.