A recent survey asked Republicans and Democrats whether they agreed with the statement that members of the opposition party “are not just worse for politics — they are downright evil.”

The answers, published in January in a paper, “Lethal Mass Partisanship,” were startling, but maybe they shouldn’t have been.

Just over 42 percent of the people in each party view the opposition as “downright evil.” In real numbers, this suggests that 48.8 million voters out of the 136.7 million who cast ballots in 2016 believe that members of opposition party are in league with the devil.

The mass partisanship paper was written by Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason, political scientists at Louisiana State University and the University of Maryland.

Kalmoe and Mason, taking the exploration of partisan animosity a step farther, found that nearly one out of five Republicans and Democrats agree with the statement that their political adversaries “lack the traits to be considered fully human — they behave like animals.”

Their line of questioning did not stop there.

How about: “Do you ever think: ‘we’d be better off as a country if large numbers of the opposing party in the public today just died’?”

Some 20 percent of Democrats (that translates to 12.6 million voters) and 16 percent of Republicans (or 7.9 million voters) do think on occasion that the country would be better off if large numbers of the opposition died.

We’re not finished: “What if the opposing party wins the 2020 presidential election. How much do you feel violence would be justified then?” 18.3 percent of Democrats and 13.8 percent of Republicans said violence would be justified on a scale ranging from “a little” to “a lot.”

Read more at the New York Times.

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