With mid-term elections coming up, and early voting ongoing in many states, I asked NewsDash readers, “Do you discuss politics with co-workers, and is it affecting your relationships?”
Only 8.9% of responding readers said they openly discuss politics with co-workers (including those in higher and lower career positions), and the same number reported they do discuss politics with co-workers, but only about the least controversial matters. More than one-third (37.5%) reported they only discuss politics with co-workers they are closest to, and the biggest proportion of respondents (44.6%) said they do not discuss politics with co-workers.
Eight in ten readers who responded said discussing politics has created no conflicts between them and co-workers, while 19.6% reported it has created conflicts with a peer, 11.8% said it has created conflicts with a manager, and 9.8% indicated it has created conflicts with a subordinate.
However, more than half (54.9%) said discussing politics has not changed their opinion about a co-worker. Nearly three in ten (29.4%) said it has changed their opinion about some in a positive way and some in a negative way, and 15.7% said it has changed their opinion about a co-worker or co-workers in a negative way.
Among readers who left comments, several are pining for the days when political discussions could be respectful and not turn angry or divisive. Most were against discussing politics at work, but a few noted that civil discussions could be a learning experience. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “My suggestion? Turn off the screaming media of all stripes. Talk to people and listen to what they have to say. We’ll find out we are not so different after all!”
Thank you to all who participated in the survey!
We keep political talk to a minimum at work. It’s much too divisive these days to bring up. Besides, anybody who supported he who shan’t be named would lose the respect of the majority of co-workers.
For almost 50 years I have lived in New York City where the political sentiment is quite liberal and many are very outspoken. Even though I am a middle-of-the-road Independent, I have learned to keep my views to myself or risk being screamed at publicly and labeled as heartless, a Nazi or worse.
Just don’t do it. Never, never, ever!
Everyone is free to give an opinion but some still take offense to a different opinion.
It’s more like discussing a reality TV show than true politics these days.
I don’t like discussing politics with co-workers who only parrot back the drivel they hear on conservative or liberal media sites. It reminds me of surveys I get from political parties that read: “Do you want America to be strong and righteous or do you want [the other political party] to have the power to destroy us?” The co-workers who think for themselves are much more interesting and sometimes persuasive.
Know who your political friends are and who your political adversaries are. It makes work so much easier.
Politics, like religion, should not be discussed in the office place. You are just looking for trouble.
I am astounded that so many people just vote party and do not think about the person they are voting for.
Most people are idiots, so I avoid these discussions.
I always thought that politics should be taboo. But with the current atmosphere, we assume that the folks on the “other side” are monsters. Recently I have had some political conversations with co-workers who vote “opposite” me, but whom I respect a great deal. Guess what? We are not diametrically opposed. We even agree on most things. The difference comes in how we go about solving problems. But when we can see that we agree on what the problem is, then a path to a solution becomes much easier. My suggestion? Turn off the screaming media of all stripes. Talk to people and listen to what they have to say. We’ll find out we are not so different after all!
I avoid political discussions at work. Based on comments coworkers have made, I know that I agree with some and disagree with others on political issues.
People are much too sensitive. Political divides have existed for many years and people need to grow up and deal with it. No crying, no complaining…just deal with it!
The political landscape in this country is ridiculous.
The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
Since politics are so mainstream right now, discussing current matters is bound to come up. Luckily, no one in our office touts one way or the other or forces their beliefs on anybody. In our industry, someone in a political position could sneeze and we would somehow feel the ripple of that … which in turn brings another change! 🙂
Politics is one’s view of taking care of the country and its people. It does not have room for one’s being and who they are.
I discuss only with those who can handle it and do so rationally. My boss and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum, and yet we can discuss politics respectfully. I don’t talk to those who appear to be hyper-sensitive in any way.
Working for a state government, political discourse is generally kept to a minimum anyway, but it is very discouraging that it seems now individuals can no longer have differing opinions and still be respectful of each other.
I do not discuss politics with co-workers. I have found that when it comes to discussing politics the most vocal co-workers seem to be expressing the “same opinion.” These folks are openly hostile to the expression of any opinion that does not match theirs. They openly state that differing opinions show intolerance. Really? It is laughable because they do not even hear and/or understand that they are expressing the very intolerance they say they dislike.
One of my rules: Never discuss politics at work. If it comes up outside of work such as in happy hour environment, change the topic and do not say a word. And at home….. No matter what…. Never discuss politics with your dad.
The big debate: hamburger or other; and the bigger debate: ketchup or mustard or both!
I never discuss national or state level politics. Since I do work for a school system that relies heavily on county funding, I do discuss the candidates running for County Executive and County Council positions with some co-workers. As a practice, I think it is best not to discuss politics in the workplace or on social media.
I don’t personally discuss, but coworkers do. I’m possibly the only one in the office who leans in the direction that I do, so I’ve kept my mouth shut. It’s just a smarter way to go.
We usually complain about Trump, which is just as common as people talking about Monday night football these days.
Americans have forgotten how to have an open minded dialog when it comes to politics, instead they are just really angry.
It is shocking to me that a person is vilified for thinking differently than someone else….they become the enemy.
I am very cautious and selective regarding who I discuss politics with these days, whether at home, at work, or just wandering the neighborhood.
With all the ongoing discussions about office politics, who has time for the other kind?
I don’t like politics and don’t want to discuss it most of the time, however, it gets forced upon me and is hard to avoid when others are talking about it.
It’s interesting to hear the views of others. The individuals I discuss politics with are on both sides of the aisle, but are respectful of everyone’s right to their own opinions.
I know how my lunch crew votes, and we’re all the same except for one, so we don’t say much. That way we’re still friends.
Know your audience. Understand that it is ok to have your own opinion. Don’t try to change the opinion of others. Agree to disagree.
You truly get to know someone’s values through political discussions, I prefer to simply listen and ask questions.
With our elected and appointed government constantly enacting more legislation and compliance requirements, who has time to discuss politics (other than to complain about more compliance!)?
It is unfortunate that one can no longer have a civil disagreement with another regarding politics. Much more often than not the conversation deteriorates.
First, this is a country of free speech. A person is free to express their opinions. I don’t have to agree and may even find it morally or socially repugnant, but I will defend your right to say it. Second, I find it’s best to agree to disagree on some topics. Third, I always listen to opposing views because sometimes I learn things or am inspired to do more research.
I think it’s important to have discussions that are polite and respectful that share ideas and points of view. That does take 2 adults, so if one of the people in the conversation can’t handle it, don’t do it.
I have finally learned that discussing politics and religion is an exercise in futility. Everyone has a strong opinion these days about what side they like and what side they don’t. There is no gray area anymore.
Just don’t do it.
I am very hesitant to discuss politics because it generally leads to feelings of frustration and sadness.
NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Strategic Insight or its affiliates.