Polarization & Incivility in American Politics: Is Congressional Gridlock Affecting U.S. State Legislatures?

Primary author: Francis Benjamin
Co-author(s): Nicholas Lovrich

Primary college/unit: Arts and Sciences
Campus: Pullman


Grounded in concern over the spread of partisan polarization and gridlock from the U.S. Congress to the 50 state legislatures, a group of 13 scholars in 11 universities across the country, led by Washington State University, gathered data from state legislative lobbyists exploring the status of longstanding norms of comity and civility in the 50 state legislatures. Over 1,200 state legislative lobbyists took part in the research and provide a national cross-section of lobbyists regarding their perception of the status of longstanding norms of comity and civility, the quality of legislative deliberations, and the capacity for bipartisan problem-solving in their respective states. The research found considerable variation across states and investigates the factors for these variations and the best pathways forward.