Researchers: Colorado Lawmakers Are Most Polarized In U.S. (Updated)

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Photo: State Capitol steps (AP Photo)
Visitors make their way up the main steps under the dome of the Colorado state Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Denver.

When Colorado lawmakers reconvene at the Capitol next week for the 2017 legislative session, they'll likely pledge bipartisanship and good will towards the other party. Those sentiments betray growing polarization at the statehouse, as tracked by political scientists who have studied polarization for more than a decade.

Colorado's lawmakers are the most polarized they've ever been, and are also the most polarized in the country, according to Boris Shor of the University of Houston and Nolan McCarty at Princeton University. They used voting data and surveys to put Colorado in the lead spot.

Shor spoke with Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel about the findings and how polarization affects state policy and citizens' lives.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story ranked Colorado second to California, but Dr. Shor updated his analysis this morning, giving Colorado the distinction of most polarized state legislature in the country.