Nov 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

What Americans are talking about at the table today

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Most Americans are hoping politics won't be served with Thanksgiving dinner.

Driving the news: More than 60% of people said they want to avoid discussing politics while visiting friends and family this Thanksgiving, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released this week.

  • The feeling is mutual among all polled demographics, including age, gender and political affiliations.

Meanwhile, 29% of those polled said they are looking forward to talking politics over the holidays.

What they're saying: "A healthy dose of 'zip it' will be on the menu as voters acknowledge that if they plan on 'talking turkey' over the big meal, it will be about the food and not about politics," Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.

The big picture: Gathering around the Thanksgiving table is especially complicated at a time when political polarization is getting worse and Americans are increasingly judging each other based on party preferences.

  • The nation is largely divided on the role of government power, immigration, climate, guns, education and abortion, per Gallup polling.
  • More than half of Americans say they feel "angry" always or often when they think about politics, per the Pew Research Center.

Between the lines: A majority of people hold social media responsible for the divisions, followed closely by political leaders, per the new survey.

  • Social media has allowed people in power to easily pick virtual fights ā€” and some of them seem to get stuck in that mentality, even when they're offline, per Axios' Stef W. Kight.

Be smart: If you're aware ahead of time that there might be these differences and that there could be triggering conversation, go into it assuming the best in everyone and trying to be curious instead of angry, social worker Starlite Randall told Axios.

  • If it doesn't go the way you hope, here are a fewy ways to self regulate and calm the nervous system down: say excuse me and leave the room to go to the restroom; take some deep breaths; sip on water; pick three things in the room and focus on them.

Go deeper: America is Big Mad

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