The Atlantic

How to Overcome Political Irrationality About Facts

Some Trump supporters are willing to lie about his inauguration attendance to preserve their ideological identities. A new study explains how curiosity can help resist reflexive partisanship.

Source: Lucas Jackson / Reuters / Stelios Varias

We may have reached peak polarization. The researchers Brian Schaffner, of the University of Massachusetts and Samantha Luks, managing director of scientific research at YouGov, showed people the two photos below, of President Donald Trump’s inauguration on the left and former President Barack Obama’s on the right:

Trump voters were overwhelmingly more likely than Clinton voters to say Obama’s photo was actually Trump’s. What’s more, 15 percent of Trump voters told the researchers there are actually more people in the photo from Trump’s inauguration

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump's Red Light Letter to the NFL
The alliance between presidents and sports was perhaps the last fully functioning bipartisan tradition left in Washington. This weekend, Trump blew it up.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Angela Merkel Reorients Germany
Why was Angela Merkel just elected to a fourth term as German chancellor? Ahead of Sunday’s election, the German journalist Robin Alexander offered one explanation. Since the economy is thriving and the nation’s politics are relatively placid despite
The Atlantic9 min readPolitics
Alabama's Strange Senate Rivalry
The contest between Luther Strange and Roy Moore raises the question of who has more sway with Trump’s base: the president or conservative firebrands like Steve Bannon?