A pair of surveys asked Americans a more concrete question: in 1960, whether they would be “displeased” if their child married someone outside their political party, and, in 2010, would be “upset” if their child married someone of the other party. In 1960, about 5 percent of Americans expressed a negative reaction to party intermarriage; in 2010, about 40 percent did (Republicans about 50 percent, Democrats about 30 percent).
A note of caution: This party animosity is not historically new, just new to last several decades. At least partisans today are not brawling with and killing one another, as was true in the 19th century. But something seems to have changed since the less polarized era of the mid-20th century.
I do have Republican friends and they all describe themselves as “conservative” (though they’re not, if you go by the issues). One thing I cannot tolerate, though, is above-it-all centrists and people who think David Brooks is wise and moderate (there’s a lot of overlap between these two groups of course). If a friend says “both sides do it” or “there was a great David Brooks column yesterday”, I razz them mercilessly until they’ve either changed their mind or yelled uncle.