A recent Pew Research Center interactive poll poses a simple question that represents the complexity of our polarized and continuously more personal state of politics within the country. Would you share your views of the current president, Donald Trump, over dinner with a group of people you have never met who hold the opposite view as you? 

Overall, 48% of adults said they would share their views in this scenario. This breaks down into a deeper gap in confidence sharing between those who approve of Trump and those who disapprove. Of those who approve of Trump, 57% would share their views with strangers who disagree, compared to only 43% of those who disapprove of Trump who would share their views in this scenario. 

The Poll then goes further in asking responders why they felt the need to give input on their opinion of the President. One of the questions included, “did you speak up because you felt compelled to speak about your feelings?” Of the Trump approvers who decided they would share their opinion, 34% said they would be compelled to share versus only 24% of disapprovers who fell into this category. Perhaps you take even the bolder choice of believing that the other people at the table need to know the truth about Trump and that you are the arbiter – 14% of Trump approvers fell into this category while only 10% of disapprovers felt this way.

Maybe you simply think it is important for these people to know where you stand on such a key issue. This is the case for a majority of both sides, with 35% of Trump approvers and 39% of disapprovers feeling this way. Or, maybe you are the minority in the current political climate. Perhaps you dared to think that the conversation would be productive. This was the case for only 15% of Trump approvers and 25% of disapprovers. 

For such a small question, this poll is very telling about the current state of political polarization within the United States. As of right now, the presidential disapproval is at 56% according to Gallup. The average conservative and average liberal are both moving more consistently to their respective sides and finding less middle ground than ever before.

When we look at the results from the Pew survey, many people took very aggressive stances in their reaction to potentially being in a room with supporters of views opposite their own. One woman who disapproves of the president went as far as to say:

“People who feel positively towards Donald Trump are not people I care to pacify or be around quite honestly. If they choose to share their views, I’d quite kindly share mine and leave afterward.”

Polarized views like this are still not the majority in conversations like this, however, many people still had a lot of civility in their comments about engaging in others with opposing views. Multiple respondents to the survey talked about their want to have civil discourse with those with which they disagree, an opportunity to make actual progress on issues.

In a different sense, many of those who choose not to engage with people about their view on the president justified this saying that they will “express their views on Trump at the ballot box” or that they will not change anyone’s mind on the president. 

What do you think about this idea? Would you share your views about the President face to face with people you have never met before? Check out the Pew Research poll and share your thoughts with us on Scriberr’s social media.

Written ByBen Mackillop

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