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On Turkey Day, Here's Just How Divided We Are

There’s one time-honored Thanksgiving Day tradition that many American families just can’t resist: Fighting about politics.
Image: Anti-Trump Protestors Continue To Demonstrate Across The Country
Protestors demonstrate against President-elect Donald Trump outside Independence Hall November 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Mark Makela / Getty Images

There’s one time-honored Thanksgiving Day tradition that many American families just can’t resist: Fighting about politics.

Fights about the state of the nation have apparently become so common on Turkey Day that some publications have even offered readers in-depth guides on how to argue with their loved ones during their family Thanksgiving meal. News organizations have diligently interviewed families whose splits over the red-blue divide are so strained that they’re considering nixing the family meal entirely.

And, yes, this year is probably going to be worse than usual. A spate of post-election polls show just how divided the country is in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory. Here’s a look at the divisions, by the numbers:

  • A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that a record 92 percent of voters said there was more “mudslinging” during the 2016 campaign than during past presidential elections. And lest you believe that voters are always so pessimistic in the wake of a hard-fought campaign, that’s 20 percent MORE than the previous record in the notoriously nasty 2004 contest.
  • The same survey found that Clinton and Trump voters are wildly divided in their feelings about his election. Ninety-six percent of Trump voters say they’re hopeful about Trump’s presidency, while just seven percent of Clinton voters say the same. A similar share of Clinton supporters – ninety percent – say that Trump’s election makes them feel uneasy, compared to 13 percent of Trump voters who say the same.
  • And in the same poll, six in ten voters said the election has made them feel LESS proud of the country. (Just 12 percent said the same before the 2008 election.)
  • A record-high of 77 percent of Americans believe the nation is divided, breaking a previous high of 69 percent in 2012, according to Gallup
  • And, also according to Gallup, the public is evenly split on whether Trump will do more to unite or divide the country, but both sides are equally convinced that they’re right. Eighty-one percent of Democrats say Trump will divide the country, while 88 percent of Republicans say he’ll unite it.

The same polls also show some tentative optimism; the Pew survey found that a majority of Clinton supporters - 58 percent – say they are “willing to give Trump a chance to see how he governs.” And a slim majority of voters overall – 56 percent – predict that Trump will have a successful first term.

And there’s fairly broad agreement on at least one thing: Dislike of the polls. According to Pew, only 17 percent of Trump supporters and 24 percent of Clinton supporters said America’s pollsters deserve an A or B grade for their work this cycle, with majorities grading them as mediocre or just plain bad.