2020-21 Korea-U.S. Policy Dialogue: Political Polarization
Opinion Polarization in Korea
Although there is a growing concern that Korean politics become more extreme and polarized, previous studies find that there is no evidence for opinion polarization. This study extends the previous findings in three ways. First, I add the latest WVS wave to examine whether political development since 2014 caused any divergence in opinions. I find no supporting evidence. Second, therefore, I focus on investigating the characteristics of those who are “ideologically consistent” by conducting and using custom-designed survey results. I find the signs of antipathy between different ideologies and ideological sorting. What is unique in Korea is that there are more consistent voters among conservatives, and their opinions are more tightly aligned with partisan views. Third, I explore how ideological consistency affects people’s perceptions and attitudes toward COVID-19. As in the other advanced countries, this global pandemic reveals how political division negatively affects the disease control effort.
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