Stories

America's partisan climate is harming family unity: study

Illustration of a mix of elephant and donkey to show partisanship mix
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Heightened partisan divisions associated with the 2016 presidential election resulted in a shortening of Americans' Thanksgiving dinners that year, by 30–50 minutes, a new study in Science found.

Why it matters: The research, using precinct-level polling information and a vast database of anonymized cellphone location records, suggests that Americans are less willing to socialize with family members who hold opposing political viewpoints. However, at least one outside expert is raising the alarm on using that level of data for non-government surveillance.

"I have not come across a paper that relied on such precise cellphone data. This strikes me as novel and innovative. It also makes me feel a little uneasy."
— Jeremy Frimer, political scientist, University of Winnipeg