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Majority of Americans Say They Don’t Mind Talking Politics With Family But There’s a Catch

It's all fine and dandy until someone disagrees.

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A recent Pew Research Center survey found that over half of Americans are okay talking politics with their families, with 59 percent of U.S. adults saying they don’t mind if the topic comes up at the dinner table. However, according to the data published Tuesday, that number is significantly lower in families who don’t agree with each others’ political views.

Of the 22 percent who said “almost everyone” in their family see eye-to-eye on politics, 82 percent said their families are okay discussing the topic. Compare that to the 65% who are comfortable with it of those families where “most” members have similar views. Even lower still is the number of adults okay discussing politics in families where “almost no one” shares their political opinions, at a mere 28 percent.

The survey, which was conducted among almost 10,000 adults from November 7-13, also found that 64 percent of people said that most or all of their family members have similar political views. And the results don’t differ much from party to party. About two-thirds of both parties (67 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents compared to 63 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents) said the majority of their family members are of a similar mindset when it comes to politics.

But even with shared political views, 40 percent of Americans still admit they try to avoid the touchy topic at family gatherings. For anyone brave enough to talk politics this Thanksgiving, Robert Carini, a professor of sociology at the University of Louisville, recommends approaching the subject with caution: “For most people, the safest approach would be to minimize the discussions. You should set some ground rules upfront. Create a bit of a safe space, and try to remember commonalities. It can spiral pretty quickly, so have it become more of a dialogue.”