TIPP Unity Index Swoons As Contentious Issues Roil A Polarized Nation

TIPP Unity Index Swoons As Contentious Issues Roil A Polarized Nation

TIPP Unity Index, an objective measure of unity in the nation fell in August.

Raghavan Mayur

The TIPP Unity Index fell 2.5 points (6.3 percent) in August, falling to 37.0 from 39.5 in July.

Almost two-thirds of Americans (63%) believe the country is polarized, while only 33% believe it is united.

The Unity Index

In keeping with its innovative tradition, TechnoMetrica developed the Unity Index, a barometer of the country's unity based on the question:

In general, would you say the United States is Very United, Somewhat United, Somewhat Divided, or Very Divided?

The chart shows the answers to the question.

TIPP Poll Results: Asking How united is the country (United states) today?  Pie Chart

We converted the raw responses to a compact index to compare demographic segments and track unity over time.

The index ranges from 0 to 100.  Higher numbers indicate greater unity, while lower numbers indicate decreased unity. 50 is a neutral value.  Above 50 indicates unity, while below 50 indicates division.

This month marks the fifth month of the index's tracking.

TIPP Poll Tracking Unity Index in the United States

The Relevance

Following a contentious 2020 election, Americans divide deeply on a smörgåsbord of issues.  Here are some examples:

  • Vaccine mandates/passports to use facilities.
  • School masking guidelines
  • Afghanistan withdrawal
  • Afghanistan Refugee policy
  • Spending and taxes
  • Law and order (defund police)
  • Immigration: border wall, sanctuary cities, border control, and security
  • 2020 election results: vote recount/audit, Jan 6 events
  • Voting rights
  • Gun rights
  • Green new deal
  • Abortion rights
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Gender rights

Behind The Numbers

In August, 32 of the 36 demographic groups we track believe we live in a divided country. The four groups that we live in a united country are:

  • Age 25-44 (59.9)
  • Income $75K+ (53.9)
  • Investors (50.1)
  • Urban residents (55.8)

Seven groups improved on the unity index in August, and 29 groups decreased.

The groups that feel extreme division in the country are 65 or older, Independents, Republicans, those with some college education, white women, and rural residents.

TIPP Poll Results: Unity Index, Three-month moving average sorted high to low, Demographics topline
Three-month moving average sorted high to low
TIPP Poll Unity Index, Three-month moving average by demographic categories
Three-month moving average by demographic categories

The United States requires greater unity now more than ever, and our leaders' actions must go beyond mere words to truly benefit the country.

President Biden mentioned "unity" and "together" in his inaugural address more than a dozen times. "Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation," said President Biden.

He promised to lead the polarized country on a path of healing towards unity. "We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury."

But words have no meaning if they are not followed up with actions.  Some of President Biden's actions have been diametrically opposed to his promise.  For example, in response to Georgia's voting laws, President Biden advocated the relocation of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game from Atlanta, a gesture that did not reflect the spirit of his inaugural promise.  The President told ESPN's Sage Steele that Georgia's newly passed voting law was "Jim Crow on steroids."

Michael Goodwin, a New York Post columnist, argues persuasively that President Biden hasn't practiced what he preached. Or even tried.

As Vanderbilt University notes on the subject of unity, “As a matter of discernible fact, the American experiment as a diverse, multiethnic democratic republic is undergoing one of its most difficult tests in its 244-year-old history.

Vanderbilt adds: There is, as the Hebrew Bible tells us, nothing new under the sun. From Jamestown to Philadelphia, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox, from the New Deal to McCarthyism, from the Warren Court to the resistance to civil rights, America has been perennially shaped by argument and by divisions. Disagreement, after all, is the oxygen of democracy. The crisis of our present time, however, is marked by a difference not just of degree but of kind. Not since the Civil War have so many Americans held such radically different views not just of politics but of reality itself.

In contrast to our divisive media, initiatives such as the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy are examples of the type of efforts that the country requires.

As the country emerges from the pandemic, genuine unity can serve as an impetus for progress.  Americans desire unity and respond positively to strong leadership. The political class must set an example and lead by example to convince the American public to embrace these values.


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TIPP Takes

"Panjshir Resistance" Against Taliban

Panjishir Resistance Backgrounder image

Ahmad Massoud, 32, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud --a charismatic anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban resistance commander known as the "Lion of Panjshir" -- has reportedly assembled a coalition of several thousand fighters.

Massoud has been joined in the Panjshir Resistance by caretaker President Amrullah Saleh and former defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi.

According to reports, the resistance forces attacked Taliban insurgents in the Charikar area of the Parwan province on Tuesday (August 17).

The recapture of Charikar is critical as it lies between the passes connecting Kabul with Mazar-i-Shariff, the largest city in Northern Afghanistan, through the Salang tunnel.


Japan To Seek Over 5.4 Trillion Yen Defense Budget With China In Mind

Japanese Defense Forces

The request would exceed the ministry's highest-ever 5.3 trillion yen initial budget for fiscal 2021, which started in April.

Japan's Defense Ministry will seek another record budget of over 5.4 trillion yen ($49 billion) for fiscal 2022, aiming to beef up its capability around remote southwestern islands to counter China's growing naval activities, government sources said Thursday.

The defense budget could further expand, possibly topping 1 percent of Japan's gross domestic product when it is finalized in December, as the request excludes outlays linked to hosting U.S. military bases. Such outlays total about 200 billion yen every year.

Japan's defense budget has long stayed at around 1 percent of its GDP, in light of the country's postwar pacifist Constitution and since the Cabinet decided in 1976 that the outlays should not exceed 1 percent.


Israel Approves Resumption Of Qatar Aid To Gaza

Child waving Qatari and Palistinian Flag

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Israel reached a deal on the mechanism for Qatar to resume aid payments to thousands of families in Gaza.

Aid disbursement after the May fighting has been held up in part by a dispute with Israel about Hamas and a debate about how to prevent the group from accessing such funds.

Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs Gaza, has pledged not to touch the donor money, which has emerged as a key issue in Egypt-mediated talks following a May 21 truce that mostly halted hostilities.

Under the new mechanism, aid from Qatar "will be transferred to hundreds of thousands of Gazan people by the UN directly to their bank accounts, with Israel overseeing the recipients," Gantz said in a statement.

Israel has blocked the payments, insisting on safeguards that none of the money will reach Hamas. Under the system before the war, some $30m in cash was delivered in suitcases to Gaza each month through an Israeli-controlled crossing.


Decades-Old Sars Virus Infection Triggers Potent Response To Covid Vaccines

COVID 19 patient in hospital

Dramatic antibody production in people infected during the 2002–04 outbreak furthers hopes for a vaccine against many coronaviruses.

People who were infected almost two decades ago with the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) generate a powerful antibody response after being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Their immune systems can fight off multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as related coronaviruses found in bats and pangolins.

The Singapore-based authors of a small study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine say the results offer hope that vaccines can be developed to protect against all new SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as other coronaviruses that have the potential to cause future pandemics.

The researchers suggest that such broad protection could arise because the vaccine jogs the immune system's "memory" of regions of the SARS virus that are also present in SARS-CoV-2 and possibly many other sarbecoviruses.

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