The 2016 presidential election, by all indicators, will be about which of the two major options Americans hate less.

This may seem like a harsh and overly blunt assessment, but it's very true. And it's not just because Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump enter the 2016 campaign as historically unpopular major-party presumed nominees -- Clinton among her own party's candidates and Trump among all candidates. It's also because Americans in general have become increasingly, hopelessly partisan -- like, so partisan that even they admit their votes are more against the other side than for their own.

Witness these three charts from a just-released Pew Research Center study on American polarization. The main takeaways here: It just keeps getting worse, quickly. And no end is in sight.

First, here's how the two parties view each other. Note the steadily increasing "very unfavorable" ratings that Republicans have for the Democratic Party and Democrats have for the GOP. Both are on the upswing and have increased about threefold since 1994. Today, a clear and sizable majority of both parties regards the other party with disgust -- something that simply wasn't the case before the turn of the century or even when Barack Obama was elected in 2008.

Next, Pew asked people about the "major reasons" for their membership in their chosen political party. Majorities of both Republican- and Democratic-leaning voters said a major reason for their party membership was that the other party's policies were bad for the country.

In both cases, significantly fewer people cited their belief in the goodness of their own party's principles -- only about one-third in each case.

Lastly, it's not just that Democrats think Republicans have the wrong policies, and vice versa; they also increasingly see one another as a "threat" to the nation's well-being. Forty-five percent of Republicans agreed with this statement about the Democratic Party, while 41 percent of Democrats said it is about the GOP. Those are up eight and 10 points since 2014, respectively.

American elections are increasingly about being scared of what the other side is doing and voting against it. The two major-party nominees are viewed unfavorably by clear and growing majorities (in Trump's case, a supermajority). And the Senate can't seem to come together to make changes to gun laws that nine in 10 Americans agree with, in principle at least.

For anybody who hopes that the mud-slinging will stop and that politicians will once again return to the days of deal-cutting and compromise, you can keep waiting.

Update: The second chart above refers to people who lean towards each party, in addition to those belonging to them. This post has been updated to clarify that.

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