An overlooked possibility of the seemingly different worldviews of Americans is this: people actually do live in different worlds.
In The Fourth Economy, I explore how very different are agricultural, industrial, information, and entrepreneurial economies. An economy focused on the limit of land has a very different set of values, philosophy, and institutions than one based on the limit of knowledge workers.
If land is your limit, zero-sum thinking dominates. Cooperation is not going to create a new oil well or acre of farmland.* Either I get that oil well or you do and if we have to fight over it - in literal battle or legal battle - we will.
In a land-based economy, reality is fairly black and white. No amount of discussion will change the fact that we're arguing over rich farmland or desolate outback. The reality we deal with is fairly non-negotiable.
In an information economy based on the work of knowledge workers, reality is very different. One problem with the efforts of knowledge workers is that nothing they do has value in isolation. Knowledge workers depend on others to create value. If you design a great new heart valve, it has no value without a skilled tech to make it. That skilled tech is worthless without advanced machinery to aid in that task. And the dozens or hundreds of people working towards completion of the design and manufacture of that heart valve would have all their efforts for naught if it weren't for the surgeon and her team able to put that valve into place. Knowledge workers depend on others to create value. They're dependent on others for negotiation and cooperation. The better they do this, the more value they create.
The more someone in an information economy cooperates, the more value they can create. The more someone in a land-based economy competes, the more value they can seize. People in an information economy want a leader who negotiates and understands the others point of view; people in a land based economy want a leader who is a fighter.
The reality of the person embedded in a land based economy is so very different from that of the person embedded in an information economy. It's not a surprise that the old guy in rural Kentucky has a different worldview than the young woman in San Francisco because they do, in so many ways, actually live in very different worlds.
* Cooperation is not going to create a new acre of land? Well, actually it can. Talk to the Dutch about their cooperative efforts to reclaim low lands from the sea to create acreage. The "fact" of a land based economy doesn't have to dictate your worldview, it just makes it more probable.