Most Americans Aren't Planning To Talk Politics This Thanksgiving

And more of the latest polling news.
"Please say you didn't bake a pie chart."
"Please say you didn't bake a pie chart."
ChuckPlace via Getty Images

For a very small fraction of the nation, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, the biggest logistical challenge this Thanksgiving may be avoiding political squabbles.

One Hillary Clinton voter is decamping to a friend’s house to avoid Donald Trump-backing relatives; another is considering ducking his parents’ dinner because of his father’s “terrible politics.” Still another is gearing up for battle, if needed. “I am going to a place that I know will be full of Hillary supporters, or they will be when I’m done with them,” the woman said.

A Trump voter’s family, meanwhile, has disinvited particularly pugnacious relatives on both the liberal and conservative sides of the spectrum due to “a deep political divide” that “started in the [Barack] Obama era.” And a 20-year-old non-voter without much interest in politics “invited someone else” to her relative’s dinner “so I can talk to them instead of listening to my ignorant aunt talk about us ‘entitled millennials’ all fucking day.”

But, despite a cornucopia of guides to avoiding politics at Thanksgiving (or humiliating your political opponents until they match the shade of the cranberry sauce), most Americans aren’t planning to practice any partisanship over their pies, according to the poll. Just 3 percent say they’ve changed their holiday plans this year to avoid getting into a political argument.

Most anticipate a relatively politics-free ― or, at the least, harmonious ― dinner. Just 29 percent of Americans attending a Thanksgiving gathering say politics is even somewhat likely to come up, down 8 percentage points from 2016. About two-thirds doubt the topic will be on the table this year.

And only 11 percent think it’s somewhat or very likely that an argument will break out, unchanged from last year, while 86 percent don’t think that’s likely to happen.

In part, that’s due to self-selection: just under a quarter of Americans with Thanksgiving dinner plans will be sitting down with both supporters of Trump and backers of Clinton. About a third plan to share a meal with those who agree politically, while 29 percent anticipate that no one at the dinner will care much about who won the 2016 election. Another 14 percent aren’t sure.

Among those in a politically mixed group, 40 percent anticipate politics coming up, and 23 percent are bracing at least somewhat for an argument to break out. (Asked how she’d changed her plans this year, one Clinton voter hosting a bipartisan dinner reported, “I started drinking.”)

Staying away from current events, other polls suggest, is probably a sage idea. More than 60 percent of the public considers politics one of their least favorite topics for holiday conversation, according to an Ipsos/Reuters survey, making it a touchier subject than religion, finances or family gossip. A third of Americans are dreading politics coming up at dinner, according to an AP-NORC poll released Wednesday, while just 2 in 10 are eager to see the subject arise.

Non-political debates, however, may not be much safer: the national divide over marshmallows on sweet potatoes is real.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:


GUN CONTROL ATTITUDES MAY NOT HAVE SHIFTED MUCH, DESPITE RECENT MASS SHOOTINGS - HuffPost: “Mass shootings in America rarely lead to political change, but they often do result in a brief spike in support for gun control. But as new polling suggests, with opinions on the topic starkly divided along political lines, it’s not clear whether two of the most recent high-profile shootings did anything to change people’s minds. In the past two months, HuffPost polled opinions on gun control three times: immediately after the Las Vegas shooting at the beginning of October; toward the end of the month, when it had largely faded from the news; and in early November, following the Texas church shooting. It’s possible that the nation is now sufficiently numbed that such tragedies are no longer sufficient to provide a jolt to public opinion; it’s also possible that the fallow time between high-profile shootings has been so brief that opinions never had time to go down from their heightened state. Either way, the consistency on many of the questions asked is notable.” [HuffPost]

NOVEMBER GAVE CLINTON VOTERS A MUCH-NEEDED MORALE BOOST - HuffPost: “Tuesday’s election night netted Democrats a flurry of state and local victories. As new HuffPost/YouGov polling shows, the wins also provided a much-needed morale boost for progressive activists nationwide who’d nearly forgotten what it’s like to have a jubilant election night….A 57 percent majority of Clinton voters who’ve engaged in activism this year now say they believe they’ve been at least somewhat effective, up 17 points since late October. The share who describe themselves as “energized” currently stands at 39 percent, up 12 percentage points. By contrast, the share of politically active Trump voters who think they’ve been effective has remained practically unchanged over the same period of time.” [HuffPost]


Trump job approval among all Americans: 40% approve, 55% disapprove

Trump job approval among Democrats: 9% approve, 88% disapprove

Trump job approval among Republicans: 80% approve, 16% disapprove

Trump job approval among independents: 37% approve, 56% disapprove

Generic House: 41% Democratic candidate, 35% Republican candidate

Obamacare favorability: 49% favor, 41% oppose

‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Americans remain generally bullish on NAFTA. [Pew]

-Voters in “Trump counties” are deeply divided on the state of the nation a year after his victory. [NBC]

-Amy Walter sees a political wave coming in 2018. [Cook Political]

-Brian Resnick explains why people often don’t even remember changing their minds on a political issue. [Vox]

-Chris Warshaw puts the tepid support for the GOP tax plan in historical context. [@cwarshaw]

-This survey experiment shows how partisanship can affect Americans’ views about sexual harassment. [HuffPost]

-Ryan Struyk notes the disconnect between Americans’ economic optimism and Trump’s low approval rating. [CNN]

-David Byler asks if Virginia has become a blue state. [Weekly Standard]

-Democratic candidates aren’t hiding from health care anymore. [HuffPost]

-Lee Miringoff looks at the demographics behind a major shift in House polling. [Marist]

-G. Elliott Morris charts President Trump’s approval ratings across various survey houses. [@gelliottmorris]

-David Wasserman profiles a county that voted in a landslide for both Trump and Obama. [538]

-Here’s a poll-tested guide for Democrats hoping to “win” Thanksgiving. [Global Strategy Group (D)]

-Lydia Saad looks back at the 1939 “partisan storm” sparked by a plan to change the date of Thanksgiving. [Gallup]

-Nearly a third of Americans say they start eating Thanksgiving leftovers immediately after dinner. [SSRS]

-A majority of voters don’t plan on watching football this Thanksgiving. [Quinnipiac]

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The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 15-16 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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