Study Shows Liberals More Likely Than Conservatives to "Unfriend" Someone Over Politics

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Oct 21, 2014 7:00 PM
Study Shows Liberals More Likely Than Conservatives to "Unfriend" Someone Over Politics

A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that people who identify as "liberal" in their political beliefs are more likely than conservatives to have unfriended someone (either in the online or real-life sense) over a disagreement in political leanings.

According to the study, while self-described "consistent liberals" were more likely than conservatives to have friends who have differing political opinions, they were also more likely to block those person's posts from social media or to unfriend them altogether.

Consistent liberals were the most likely group to block or unfriend someone because they disagreed with their political postings, with 44 percent saying they had "hidden, blocked, defriended, or stopped following someone" on Facebook due to their political postings. Only roughly one-third (31 percent) of consistent conservatives had done the same -- although this might be attributable to lower levels of ideological diversity in their online ecosystem.

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Liberals were also more likely to drop a friend in real life over politics. Nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, of consistent liberals told Pew that have stopped talking to or being friends with someone over politics, compared to 16 percent of consistent conservatives.

A possible explanation for this could be that conservatives are less likely to block someone over political postings if their friends are people with whom they mostly agree with.

Growing up in Maine, I had plenty of liberal classmates and friends, heck, it was always a surprise if a classmate wasn't a liberal. These people were some of my dearest friends growing up, and as we grew older it was quite upsetting to see that some of them purposefully shut me out of their lives when I got more heavily involved in politics. Underneath political views we're all still people before everything else. I wish more people—on both sides of the aisle—would realize that.