The political climate in the United States surrounding the Nov. 8 elections may be described as divisive, and at times, hostile. A poll released by a research firm on Monday shows interesting trends in how Americans behave on social media following the 2016 election, with Democrats twice as likely to "unfriend" or block someone on Facebook and five times more likely to avoid a family member during the holidays due to clash in political beliefs.
Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) surveyed 1,004 adults across the country on their views on certain issues, and results show that Americans are greatly divided by political affiliation.
Blocking friends on social media was one of the issues addressed by the survey, and results show that 13 percent of those surveyed blocked, unfriended, or stopped following a person's online page because of political opinions that he/she shares on social media. With Donald Trump winning the presidency, about 24 percent of Democrats said they removed somebody from their social media circle because of that person's political posts, while only 9 percent of Republicans did such.
The 2016 election has become synonymous with unfriending or blocking on social media, and one of the main reasons for this is the pervasiveness of social media platform such as Facebook. "We've created an environment ripe for disagreements," per Fordham University professor Jessica Baldwin-Philippi, who researches on the relationship between technology and politics, as reported by Politico.
The PRRI survey also looked into how family relationships were affected by the election outcome. While results show that Americans are generally unlikely to change holiday plans just to avoid conflict over politics with a family member, Democrats emerged to be five times more likely than Republicans to admit that they will steer clear of family members to avoid a heated political discussion.