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Defining the Perception Gap

The Perception Gap refers to various misunderstandings and incorrect generalizations of those who generally identify with and/or tend to vote for another political party. Given the nature of the US political system, this most typically involves Democrats misperceiving Republicans, and vice versa. The organization More in Common coined the term “Perception Gap,” and its original Perception Gap study found similar levels of misperceptions in each party, although the most partisan Americans on both sides tend to misperceive to a greater extent. The Perception Gap at times also include perceptions of those who lean toward one party or another, or perceptions of Independents. In the US, misperceptions are much more likely to overestimate differences, thus tending to inaccurately increase a sense of threat and decrease positive thoughts and feelings about those in the other party. These kinds of misperceptions are dangerous to a democratic republic. 

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