Politics with Amy Walter: How Social Psychology Influences Political Behavior

The Takeaway

How Political Identities Have Become About What We Hate Instead of What We Love

Individual reactions to the coronavirus pandemic and the public health restrictions that have accompanied it have underscored how powerful negative partisanship can be in the formation of political opinions. In past crises, national shocks have urged partisans to put aside their personal grievances in pursuit of the greater good, but today, that doesn't seem to be the case. 

A look at how the perception of risk influences our political behavior and the impact it has on public opinion.


Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School

Lynn Vavreck, Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA and contributor to The Upshot at The New York Times

Georgia's Reopening

Last month, Georgia became one of the first states to begin easing restrictions associated with COVID-19. The decision was criticized by health officials as moving too quickly and risking a potential surge in cases.

Across the state, citizens, business owners, and mayors hold mixed feelings regarding how Governor Brian Kemp has approached the public health crisis. While many governors across the U.S. have seen a bump in approval for their handling of the crisis, just 39% approved of Governor Kemp's handling of the pandemic. 

A look at how Georgia residents and business owners are navigating the reopening and what they need to see before they decide to participate. 


Andra Gillespie,Associate Professor of Political Science at Emory University and Director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute

David Bradley,President and CEO of the Athens Chamber of Commerce 

Back to School

Parents can't go back to work if they're also responsible for co-teaching and childcare throughout the day. Any return to normalcy for families across the U.S. will be impossible without schools reopening. And while online learning has become the norm, it's exacerbated inequality as having a computer and reliable internet access have become precursors to learning from home. 

A look at how schools in Colorado are approaching what a return might look like and the steps that would be necessary to get students back in the classroom. 


Katy Anthes, Commissioner of Education for the State of Colorado

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