A new Quinnipiac University poll finds that more than 60% of Americans want to avoid political discussions during Thanksgiving gatherings this year.
According to the poll, 61% are hoping to steer Thanksgiving gathering conversations away from politics, while 29% are looking forward to those discussions at the table.
While down three percentage points from the results last year with 64% avoiding the issue, it follows the trend going back to 2017 keeping above 60% in each of those years.
The surveys were not conducted in 2019 or 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year's survey included telephone interviews with 1,743 adults from Nov. 9-13 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points, according to the university.
USA Today reported Monday that the national political polarization has infiltrated family holiday gatherings for several years now and has torn some families apart.
In one case noted in the report, a Florida woman's adult children have not been home for holidays since she voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020.
"All the political stuff came up, and our family just has been so fractured," Lisa Ballenstine, a 56-year-old resident of Naples, Florida, told USA Today. "I love my children. These have been the worst years of my life."
According to the survey, there is plenty of blame for the situation to go around, with 35% blaming social media, 31% blaming political leaders, and 28% blaming cable news.
For the third time since 2018, a majority of those surveyed said discussing politics at family and holiday gatherings has gotten worse during the last year.
Joshua Coleman, psychologist, and author of "Rules of Estrangement," told USA Today that current political events and discussions can raise lingering feelings and disputes among family members, so people need to be aware of the situations they find themselves in.
"It's useful to kind of take your own temperature about your readiness to be in that environment," Coleman said. "What's the likelihood that it's not going to go well, and you're going to end up regretting having gone?"
Another tip, offered in the report by Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, a clinical psychologist and host of the advice podcast "Kids Ask Dr. Friendtastic," advises people to reflect on their motives for engaging in such conversations, and figuring out the objectives they hope to achieve.
"We want to focus on what brings us together," she said in the report. "That could be our shared interest or shared experiences with people that we care about. Set ground rules. If you have to have the conversation, put guidelines around it because if you don't, it's going to get out of hand."
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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