YouGov research today reveals the scale of partisanship in the UK is high, but lower than US levels.
There is a simple test pollsters use to measure the levels of partisanship: make up a fictitious law and ask voters whether it should be repealed. To some of your respondents, don't mention any party; to others, say that the Conservative Party supports the repeal; to others, say it’s the Labour Party. If supporters of one party object when their opposing party is mentioned, then it can’t have anything to do with the law; you’ve found the level of partisanship.
Following in the tradition of George Bishop's University of Cincinnati study, we asked respondents about the ‘Public Affairs Act 1975’. We found that partisanship is high in the UK, supporting concerns that tribalism is nearing US levels. 24% of Labour voters disagree when told Conservatives want to repeal the Act and 23% of Conservatives disagree when told Labour want repeal it, however more Labour voters (19%) support repeal when told their own party suggest it than Conservatives (12%) when told the same.
US Republicans are the most partisan however. 39% of Republican voters disagree when told “President Obama says” the law should be repealed, while 28% of Democrats disagree when told “Republicans in congress say” there should be reform.
The results come as Barack Obama condemns certain members of Congress for the "shameful" blocking of a bipartisan proposal to support expanded background checks on firearm sales.