Love in the Age of Trump: Why Democrats Are Spoiling for a Fight - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Love in the Age of Trump: Why Democrats Are Spoiling for a Fight

Love in the Age of Trump: Why Democrats Are Spoiling for a Fight

By Daniel Malloy


Because the left’s political energy has an impact on personal relationships.

By Daniel Malloy

From protests in the street to social media flame wars, the president’s opponents are fired up — and they’ve about had it with people in Make America Great Again hats. An exclusive nationwide OZY poll conducted by SurveyMonkey shows the anger on the left is testing relationships of all kinds on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election.

45 percent of Hillary Clinton voters say they are “less accepting” of opposing political viewpoints since the election, compared to 18 percent of Trump voters.

In addition to reporting that they are more likely to avoid romantic relationships with the political opposition, Clinton voters were also more likely to distance themselves from political opponents among their friends and family (22 percent, versus 7 percent of Trump voters) since the election; unfriend or unfollow them on social media (15 percent to 5 percent); or stop talking to them altogether (6 percent to 2 percent). In addition, 45 percent of Clinton voters said they had become “more outspoken” about politics since the election, compared to 26 percent of Trump voters. (You can see the full results here.)

The online-offline divide goes beyond who’s in the White House.

The interactions play out differently in person than online. Overall, 55 percent of respondents say they “refute with facts” when presented with an opposing political view in person, while about 38 percent do so online. “Perhaps it’s just easier to not engage with people on social media — you can immediately limit that uncomfortable interaction with a click of a mouse,” says Erin Pinkus, a research scientist at SurveyMonkey who helped conduct the poll. “Behaviors do vary, however, by age and party ID: More of the millennial Democrats speak up in person (67 percent). But they ignore people online at the same rate as people overall: 55 percent.” Rose McDermott, a professor of international relations at Brown University, points out that the phrase “refute with facts” itself might be less popular with Republicans — as they are more likely to respond to emotional or faith-based appeals.


In any case, McDermott says, the online-offline divide goes beyond who’s in the White House. “There is good data dating to the original Kinsey studies suggesting that people are more likely to be honest the closer you get to face-to-face, even for socially sensitive stuff like sex,” McDermott says. “So, for example, people are most honest face-to-face, then the phone, then online.” 

Instead of speaking up more, some Democrats find themselves worn down by the Trump era. Kaylee Tock, 32, of Chicago, tries to avoid political debates, both with customers at her part-time job at Starbucks and on her Facebook feed. “I’m never going to change someone’s mind, no matter how many facts I throw back at them,” Tock says. “And I know that they feel the same, so it’s exhausting.”

The crucial exception: Tock’s vocal Trump-backing boyfriend. Tock, who voted for Clinton like most everyone she knows in her “very insulated, mostly Democratic, liberal area,” often clashes with him about Russia, the economy and the rest of the daily news barrage. Those disputes might not last, Tock says. “I am constantly saying, ‘OK, maybe now’s the time to just end it.’ ”

This OZY/SurveyMonkey online survey was conducted October 17–19 among a national sample of 2,074 adults ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using census data to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. (You can read more about SurveyMonkey’s methodology here.)

You can take the full poll for yourself by scrolling down in the box below.

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