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Americans are paying more attention to politics, and finding it stressful

Americans are paying more attention to politics since Donald Trump’s election, but many find the experience a stressful one, according to new data from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

Just over half of those surveyed by Pew said they were paying more attention to politics since Trump’s victory; only about one in eight said they were paying less attention, and one-third said their level of attention had not changed.

Women were especially likely to say they were paying more attention to politics, with about six in ten saying so, compared with just under half of men.

About one in six Americans said they had attended a political event since the election, with most of those saying the events were opposed to Trump or his policies.

About six in ten said that they found talking about politics with people who disagree about Trump “stressful and frustrating,” compared with 35% who find such conversations “interesting and informative.”

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they found conversations with the other side about Trump to be stressful, with about seven in ten Democrats and about half of Republicans taking that position.

A much smaller share of the public, about one in five, said that knowing that a friend supported Trump would strain the friendship.  Among Democrats, college graduates and liberals were the most likely to take that position, with about four in ten college-educated Democrats saying so.

Aside from politics, most partisans of both parties, however, said that followers of the opposing party “probably share many of my other values and goals.”

For all the polarization that has surrounded Trump’s administration, the percentage of Americans who said that members of the other party did not share their values and goals is lower now than it was a decade ago, during the final years of the George W. Bush administration. 

Conservative Republicans were the most likely to say that members of the other party don’t share their values — nearly half took that position. Among liberal Democrats, about four in ten did so.

The Pew data is based on a survey conducted June 27 to July 9 among a national sample of 2,505 adults. The results have a margin of error of 2.2 points in either direction. 


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