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Partisan gaps widen even further in Trump's first year as Democrats move left

The partisan gap that already divided Americans into increasingly estranged camps has widened even further in President Trump's first year in office, largely because Democrats have moved to the left on a wide range of issues, a new large-scale, nonpartisan poll has found.

On issues as varied as government aid to the poor, immigration and the role of diplomacy versus military force, Americans who identify themselves as Democrats or independents who generally side with the Democrats have shifted to more liberal positions in the last several years. That shift has become even more pronounced in the last year, according to the new survey by the Pew Research Center. 

Across the board, "the divisions have never been this large" between partisans, Pew found. The gap between Democrats and Republicans now looms larger than the divide in opinions between blacks and whites, young and old, pious and secular or college educated and non-college educated Americans.

Attitudes toward immigrants provide an example: More than eight in 10 Democrats now say that immigrants strengthen the country "because of their hard work and talents." A generation ago, only about a third of Democrats took that view.

Republicans have also shifted toward a more benign view of immigrants, but not as dramatically. Republicans are almost equally divided on whether immigrants strengthen the country or weaken it "because they take our jobs, housing and healthcare."

As with Democrats, a generation ago, only about one third of Republicans said that immigrants strengthened. Overall, on an issue where the two partisan groups once were largely similar, they now show a huge gap.

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