Since Obama’s victory in 2008 our politics seems more polarised and contentious than any time in recent memory. The 2010 midterm elections amplified the divisions and created the context for a bitterly fought presidential election on perilously narrow margins:
Americans aren’t just evenly divided in the 2012 election; they’re practically fleeing the political middle.
Towards the end of the Wisconsin recall election this year, we saw something striking happen: Not only were there very few undecided voters in the weeks before Election Day, but the vast majority of people were strongly for or strongly against Gov. Scott Walker (R), with very few people lukewarm on either side.
The same thing is happening in the presidential race.
Aaron Blake – The Incredibly Polarized American Electorate Washington Post 30 Oct 12
Click through on Mark Newman’s excellent county map of 2008 above to see that Obama was right, we aren’t a nation of red states and blue states. However we are divided throughout the nation into increasingly inflexible and adamant local bastions with little apparent common ground and discrete sources of inspiration and information. What little dialogue we have has largely devolved to polemics and issue-baiting as if two divergent, incompatible cultures are emerging; yet we share legislatures and infrastructure almost everywhere.