December 22, 2016

How Americans are talking about Trump’s election in 6 charts

More than a month after the presidential election, Donald Trump’s victory and his plans for the presidency remain a topic of conversation for most – but not all – Americans. With the holidays approaching, 39% of U.S. adults say their families avoid conversations about politics.

Following one of the most divisive campaigns in recent memory, here are six charts that highlight some of the ways people are talking about the election and its aftermath.

Highly educated Democrats are especially likely to be talking about the election

Overall, most people (64%) say Trump’s election and plans for his presidency have come up very often or somewhat often in their conversations, according to the latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 12 among 4,183 adults on our nationally representative American Trends Panel.

Highly educated Democrats – those with at least a college degree – are more likely than Republicans and others in their own party to say they’ve discussed the election.

About four-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners with college degrees (43%) say the election comes up very often. About half as many (18%) Democrats with less education talk about it very often. Only about a quarter of Republicans and Republican leaners across educational levels say they have talked frequently about the election.

Few report having “major” arguments

For the most part, Americans’ conversations about the election have not led to arguments, though 38% of the public says they have had an argument about the election or its outcome. Still, just 9% characterize the arguments as “major.” In July, a nearly identical share of registered voters (37%) said they had argued about the election.

As was the case during the campaign, Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to say they have argued about the election.

Partisans remain more likely to talk to “their” side than the opposition

As we found during the campaign, Republicans and Democrats are more likely to discuss the election with people on their side than with those on the other side. Eight-in-ten Republicans and Republican leaners say they’ve had a conversation with someone who supported Trump, and about seven-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say they’ve had a conversation with someone who supported Hillary Clinton. By contrast, fewer Republicans (45%) and Democrats (40%) say they’ve had a conversation with a supporter of the other candidate.

Most say their family members share their political views

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say that most or all of their family members share their political views. Republicans (69%) and Democrats (64%) are about equally as likely to say this.

And among those who say that most or all of their family shares their political views, a wide majority (70%) says their family is “okay with” talking about politics, while just 30% say their family tries to avoid the subject. However, among those who say almost no one or just a few people in their family share their political views, a 59% majority says their family tries to avoid talking about politics, while a smaller share (41%) says their family finds such discussions acceptable.

Relatively few say they’ve changed their behavior on social media

About a quarter of social media users (23%) say they have changed their settings on social media to see fewer posts from someone because of something related to the 2016 election. An even smaller share (16%) say they have blocked or unfriended someone on social media over something related to the election.

Younger people, among both Republicans and Democrats, are more likely than their older counterparts to say they have changed their settings or unfriended someone on social media over the election.

The age patterns were similar in August, when we asked slightly different questions about whether social media users had taken either of these two steps because of politics content in general.

Many Clinton supporters, especially white women, have expressed opposition to Trump

Overall, 37% of those who supported Clinton say they have done something to express unhappiness with or opposition to Donald Trump’s election. There are wide differences by race, education and gender among Clinton supporters (those who say they voted for Clinton or would have, if they had voted).

About half of all white Clinton supporters (53%) say they’ve done something to express opposition to Trump, but only about one-in-five of Clinton’s black (19%) and Hispanic (23%) supporters say the same.

Among white women who backed Clinton, 58% say they have expressed opposition to Trump’s election, compared with 45% of white men.

College-educated Clinton supporters (55%) are more likely than those with some college experience (40%) and those with a high school degree or less education (20%) to say they have done something to oppose Trump’s election.

Among those Clinton supporters who say they did something to oppose Trump’s election, most say they expressed their opinion online or in person (72%). About one-in-five (21%) say they have engaged in political activities, such as signing petitions, donating money, contacting elected officials or protesting.

Note: See full methodology and topline results. 

Topics: Social Media, Gender, Political Polarization, 2016 Election, Social Networking, U.S. Political Parties, Donald Trump, Political Attitudes and Values

  1. Photo of Baxter Oliphant

    is a research associate focusing on U.S. politics and policy at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Samantha Smith

    is a former research assistant at Pew Research Center.