People getting more fired up about politics: survey

Verbal attacks, insults, name-calling up 41 per cent in U.S.

People getting more fired up about politics: survey
A heated exchange between a Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporter in 2016.

More than half (55 per cent) of coworkers and friends in the U.S. say they have been in a political discussion that included verbal attacks, insults or name-calling — whether as an instigator or recipient — up from 41 per cent in 2016, according to a survey from training services provider VitalSmarts.

And nearly three in four (71 per cent) say that the discussion has hurt a relationship, up from 42 per cent in 2016, found on the survey of 1,060 American adults.

As a result of a political discussion:

  • 69 per cent lost respect for a person
  • 57 per cent unfriended someone from social media
  • 38 per cent avoided people in a hallway or social situations
  • 23 per cent dropped a friend
  • 18 per cent avoided holidays with some relatives
  • 17 per cent declined party or dinner invitations

“While 61 per cent had political discussions that went 'surprisingly well' four years ago, only 29 per cent can make that same claim today. That is more than a 50 per cent reduction in respectful and productive dialogue about our nation's leadership," says author Joseph Grenny.

In October, Google warned employees to cease all political talk while on the job due to its “disruptive” nature, according to a separate report.

In an opinion piece for Canadian HR Reporter in 2019, Omekongo Dibinga noted that focusing on diversity can help in handling divisions in the workplace.

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