Most Americans Don't Plan To Talk Politics Over Thanksgiving Dinner

Pass the sweet potatoes and please hold the post-election commentary.
The only pie chart anyone wants to see at dinner this week.
The only pie chart anyone wants to see at dinner this week.
Chuck Place

Most Americans are hoping to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner without a helping of politics, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

A 53 percent majority of those celebrating the holiday say they’re not very or not at all likely to discuss politics during their dinner, with 37 percent saying they’re somewhat or very likely to bring up the subject.

Even fewer anticipate things getting heated. Just 3 percent say they’re very likely to get into a political argument during dinner, while 8 percent say they’re somewhat likely to do so, and 80 percent that they’re not very likely or not at all likely to get into a fight.

For a small fraction ― 4 percent ― that’s because they’ve actually changed their plans for Thursday to avoid conflict.

“We are having a quiet holiday brunch alone, just the two of us,” one Clinton voter, who reneged on dinner with her Trump-supporting relatives, said in the survey. Several others also reported declining invitations from parents or family members who’d voted for Trump, or canceling their plans all together.

Across the aisle, one Trump voter said she had decided not to invite her parents home for dinner “because they are Trump and Republican haters.” Another, irritated that her son had asked her to mind the feelings of his Clinton-supporting girlfriend, suggested that it might be “best that he go elsewhere” for the holiday.

Some went to more elaborate measures to keep the peace. One woman polled said that her sister was planning to attend two separate get-togethers ― one for her family, all Trump supporters, on Thanksgiving Day, and another for her husband’s family, all of whom voted for Clinton, on Saturday.

Most people, though, don’t have to go to such lengths to avoid people they disagree with. Fewer than one-third of Americans, according to a September survey, have both at least one family member or close friend who supports Clinton and at least one who supports Trump.

And, as the latest poll shows, most of the public doesn’t have plans for a bipartisan Thanksgiving. Just 26 percent say they expect to see both Trump and Clinton supporters at their dinner, while 36 percent say everyone they’re sharing the holiday with will have backed the same candidate. Another 21 percent think no one at their Thanksgiving will care much about politics, while 16 percent aren’t sure about the political preferences of those they’re sharing dinner with.

Those attending politically split dinners are prepared for relatively more strife. Eighteen percent say they’re somewhat likely or very likely to get into a political fight this year.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 16-18 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.

The Huffington Post 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. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. 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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