Young people, Democrats, vegetarians not looking forward to seeing family

For Immediate Release

 

 

Young people, Democrats, vegetarians not looking forward to seeing family

“Man-splaining” makes anti-vaxxers, Trump supporters more likely to say that they like talking politics with relatives

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, November 19, 2021 – Americans are getting back to seeing family over the holidays, but disagreements about political and social issues mean that not everyone is enthusiastic about those family gatherings. According to a new national survey from the FDU Poll, older people, those who believe in conspiracy theories and Trump supporters are the most eager to see their relatives for the holidays, and are more likely to want to talk and argue about political and social issues. Younger people, Democrats, and vegetarians are less eager to see their relatives and have these arguments, which are linked with men’s gender identities.

Most Americans (79 percent) say that they “look forward” to seeing relatives over the holidays, with 14 percent saying that they’re conflicted about it and four percent saying that they “dread” it, but there are wide differences between groups. People who hold unsubstantiated beliefs about social and political issues are more likely to be looking forward to seeing their relatives. Just 12 percent of Americans who “strongly agree” with the idea that COVID vaccines are “more dangerous than we’re being told” say that they’re conflicted or dread seeing their relatives. In contrast, 22 percent of Americans who think that the government is telling the truth about vaccines are conflicted or dread seeing relatives. Similarly, 21 percent of those who “strongly disagree” that there was significant voter fraud in the 2020 US Presidential election are conflicted or dread seeing their relatives, compared with 12 percent of those who “strongly agree” that there was fraud.

“People who know that vaccines work, that the election wasn’t stolen, are not happy about events where they might have to deal with people who aren’t accepting reality,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at Fairleigh Dickinson, and the executive director of the poll. “The folks who hold false beliefs about COVID and the election want to see everyone, but they might not realize that not everyone wants to see them.”

Aside from politics, the biggest factors leading Americans to not look forward to seeing their relatives are age and vegetarianism. Younger Americans are much more ambivalent about seeing their families for the holidays than older ones. Twenty-seven percent of people under 30 say that they’re conflicted or dread seeing the relatives, compared to just 16 percent of those 45 to 64, and 8 percent of people 65 and over. The group least likely to look forward to seeing relatives is people who have vegetarian or vegan diets: thirty percent are conflicted about, or dread, seeing relatives.

Most Americans say that they enjoy talking about important social and political issues with their families. Forty-six percent “strongly” agree that they enjoy it, with another 38 percent “somewhat” agreeing. Democrats are only a little less likely than Republicans to “strongly” agree that they like talking about important social and political issues, but there are big gaps based on people’s beliefs. For instance, 60 percent of Americans who “strongly agree” that COVID vaccines are more dangerous than we’re being told also “strongly” agree with the statement that they like talking about social and political issues. That figure is 16 points lower (44 percent) among Americans who do not believe that the government is lying about vaccine dangers. Similarly, people who think there was significant voter fraud in the 2020 election are more likely to say that they like talking about politics with family (56 percent) than those who say that there wasn’t any such fraud (44 percent).

This same relationship holds for people’s estimations of their own levels of knowledge. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to agree with the statement, “I know more about political and social issues than most people” (65 percent versus 58 percent), as are people who “strongly agree” that there was significant voter fraud in 2020 (75 percent versus 65 percent).

“There’s a real connection between people’s beliefs, and how much they want to talk about them,” said Cassino. “People who hold fringe beliefs think they know more than everyone else, and like talking about them more than people who have conventional beliefs.”

Of course, talking about social and political issues is not the same as arguing about them. In the survey, Americans were asked to agree or disagree with the statement “If someone says something I disagree with, I let them know about it.” Overall, 29 percent “strongly” agree with this, and another 40 percent “somewhat” agree. While Democrats and Republicans aren’t much different on this measure, people who hold unsubstantiated beliefs about major issues are very different from everyone else. For instance, people who “strongly agree” that COVID vaccines are more dangerous than we’re being told are 11 points more likely to say that they don’t mind arguments than those who believe that the vaccines are safe (39 percent versus 28 percent). Americans who think there was significant voter fraud in the 2020 election are 13 points more likely to let others know when they disagree than those who reject the idea of significant fraud in 2020 (39 versus 26 percent).

“It would be one thing if people who held these beliefs had a live and let live attitude about them, but people who hold false beliefs, and like talking about them, are also more prone to argue,” said Cassino. “The folks who hold these beliefs are more likely to want to see their relatives – but this is why their relatives are not looking forward to it.”

The desire to explain political and social beliefs, and argue with those who disagree, is tied to displays of gender. In the survey, respondents were asked to assess their own gender identity, on a scale running from “completely masculine” to “completely feminine.” A little more than half of men (55 percent) assert that they are “completely masculine,” and a little more than half of women (52 percent) say that they are “completely feminine.”

Men who assert a traditional “completely” masculine identity are much more likely than any other group to agree with the statement “it’s important to voice my opinion, even if others disagree with it” (48 percent “strongly agree,” versus 38 percent for other men; 39 percent of women say the same, with no difference between gender groups). They’re also more likely than other groups to agree with the statement “if someone says something I disagree with, I let them know about it”: 75 percent strongly or somewhat agree, versus 64 percent for other men, and 67 percent for women.

“We have a term for men thinking they know more than everyone else and using conversation to dominate other people: that’s mansplaining,” said Cassino. “It’s a way for some men to assert dominance, but it’s making everyone else really ambivalent about the holidays.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted between November 9 and November 16, 2021, using a certified list of registered voters in Nationwide. Respondents were randomly chosen from the list, and contacted via either live caller telephone interviews, or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 802 respondents. 416 of the surveys were carried out via the TTW platform, 128 of the interviews were carried out via landline telephones, and the remainder (280) were done on cellular phones. Surveys were conducted only in English.

The data were weighted to be representative of the population of registered voters nationwide, as of the 2020 US Presidential election. The weights used, like all weights, balance the demographic characteristics of the sample to match known population parameters. The weighted results used here are balanced to match parameters for sex, age, education and race/ethnicity.

SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure, was used to produce final weights. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis helps to ensure that the demographic characteristics of the sample approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population. The size of these weights is used to construct the measure of design effects, which indicate the extent to which the reported results are being driven by the weights applied to the data, rather than found in the data itself. Simply put, these design effects tell us how many additional respondents would have been needed to get the weighted number of respondents across weighted categories: larger design effects indicate greater levels of under-representation in the data. In this case, calculated design effects are approximately 1.42.

All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 802 registered voters is +/-3.5 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence interval. Including the design effects, the margin of error would be +/-4.6 percentage points, though the figure not including them is much more commonly reported.

This error calculation does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question-wording, differences in translated forms, or context effects. While such errors are known to exist, they are often unquantifiable within a particular survey, and all efforts, such as randomization and extensive pre-testing of items, have been used to minimize them.

 

Weighted Telephone Sample Characteristics

802 Registered Voters Nationally

Figures are weighted to overall voter characteristics from previous gubernatorial elections. Respondents who refused to answer a demographic item are not included.

 

Man                                

46%                 N = 379

Woman                             

52%                 N = 428

Some Other Way          

1%                  N = 7

 

18-29                          

16%                N = 132

30-44                          

32%                 N = 267

45-64                          

28%                 N = 234

65+                              

23%                 N = 191

 

Democrat (with leaners)             

42%                 N = 343

Independent                                 

15%                 N = 124

Republican (with leaners)          

33%                 N = 269

 

White                                           

67%                N = 553

Black                                              

12%                N = 98

Hispanic/Latino/a                                     

12%                N = 98

Asian                                       

4%                  N = 33

Other/Multi-racial                                    

2%                  N = 16

 

No college degree                      

40%                N = 302

College degree or more             

59%                N = 489

 

Question Wording and Order

T1. Last year, many families weren’t able to see each other in person for the holidays, but more people are going to be able to this year. How about you? Will you be seeing family and friends in person over the Holidays this year, or not?

  1. Will be seeing
  2. Will not be seeing
  3. Not sure [Vol]
  4. DK/REF [Vol]

T2. [Only if seeing people in T1] Do you think you’ll see more people in person than you have in most years, fewer people than in most years, or will it be about the same as most years?

  1. More people
  2. Fewer people
  3. About the same
  4. Not sure [Vol]
  5. DK/REF [Vol]

T3. Whether you’re going to see them this year or not, we’d like to ask about how you generally feel about seeing relatives in person over the Holidays. Some people look forward to seeing their relatives over the holidays, while others are a little more conflicted about it. Some people even dread it. Which best describes you? Do you…

  1. Look forward to seeing your relatives
  2. Feel conflicted about seeing relatives
  3. Dread seeing relatives
  4. Not sure [Vol]
  5. DK/REF [Vol]

T4. Over the holidays, do you talk about political or social issues with your family and friends…

  1. Frequently
  2. Sometimes
  3. Rarely
  4. Never
  5. Not sure [Vol]
  6. DK/REF [Vol]

 

We’d like to read you a few statements about how you feel about voicing your opinions. For each, tell me if you strongly agree with the statement, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree

T5. I enjoy talking about important issues with family and friends.

T6. It’s important to voice my opinion, even if other people disagree with it.

T7. If someone says something that I disagree with, I let them know about it.

T8. I know more about political and social issues than most people.

  1. Strongly Agree
  2. Somewhat Agree
  3. Neither Agree nor Disagree
  4. Somewhat Disagree
  5. Strongly Disagree
  6. [DK/REF]

Issues

I’m going to read you some statements about controversial issues in current US culture. For each, tell me if you strongly agree with the statement, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree

[Shuffle Order]

V1. There was significant voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.

V2. COVID-19 vaccines are much more dangerous than we’re being told.

[Other items to be released at a later date]

  1. Strongly Agree
  2. Somewhat Agree
  3. Somewhat Disagree
  4. Strongly Disagree
  5. [DK/REF]

 

Release Tables

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

Seeing Family over the Holidays

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Will be Seeing

79

77

81

84

79

81

Will not be seeing

10

12

7

8

9

11

Not Sure [Vol]

11

11

12

8

12

8

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

Seeing More People over Holidays

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

More People

24

23

24

27

24

25

Fewer People

21

30

17

11

19

23

About the Same

53

46

58

60

55

52

Not Sure [Vol]

2

1

1

2

2

1

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

Dietary Restrictions

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Vegetarian

4

5

5

3

4

4

Vegan

1

1

2

2

1

2

Other Dietary Restriction

11

12

12

9

8

13

No Restrictions

83

81

79

86

86

80

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

1

2

0

1

1

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

How do you feel about seeing relatives?

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Look Forward

79

78

76

82

77

81

Feel Conflicted

14

17

15

7

14

13

Dread Seeing Relatives

4

2

4

6

5

3

Not Sure [Vol]

4

3

5

5

4

3

 

 

 

 

Dietary Restrictions

 

2020 Vote

 

How do you feel about seeing relatives?

Overall

None

Veg/Vegan

Other

Biden

Trump

Look Forward

79

79

64

78

77

85

Feel Conflicted

14

13

25

13

19

6

Dread Seeing Relatives

4

4

5

6

2

5

Not Sure [Vol]

4

4

6

3

2

4

 

 

 

 

 

Age

 

How do you feel about seeing relatives?

Overall

18-29

30-44

45-64

65+

Look Forward

79

68

78

77

88

Feel Conflicted

14

24

16

12

5

Dread Seeing Relatives

4

3

5

4

3

Not Sure [Vol]

4

5

1

7

4

 

 

 

Believe COVID vaccines are dangerous

How do you feel about seeing relatives?

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Look Forward

79

83

84

82

75

Feel Conflicted

14

7

12

8

19

Dread Seeing Relatives

4

5

3

5

3

Not Sure [Vol]

4

5

1

5

3

 

 

 

Believe 2020 Election was stolen

How do you feel about seeing relatives?

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Look Forward

79

83

78

78

77

Feel Conflicted

14

7

10

13

19

Dread Seeing Relatives

4

5

6

3

2

Not Sure [Vol]

4

5

6

6

2

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

Talk about political or social issues

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Frequently

22

21

15

27

24

21

Sometimes

45

44

45

48

46

44

Rarely

21

24

29

15

20

22

Never

11

11

11

9

9

12

Not Sure [Vol]

1

0

0

1

1

1

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

I enjoy talking about important issues

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

46

44

45

51

48

45

Somewhat Agree

38

39

35

39

38

37

Somewhat Disagree

10

11

14

5

9

11

Strongly Disagree

5

5

4

5

4

6

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

1

2

0

1

1

 

 

 

Believe COVID vaccines are dangerous 

I enjoy talking about important issues

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Strongly Agree

46

60

45

35

44

Somewhat Agree

38

32

40

46

38

Somewhat Disagree

10

4

13

14

11

Strongly Disagree

5

3

2

3

6

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

1

0

2

1

 

 

 

Believe 2020 Election was stolen 

I enjoy talking about important issues

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Strongly Agree

46

56

40

39

44

Somewhat Agree

38

35

45

37

39

Somewhat Disagree

10

6

9

15

11

Strongly Disagree

5

3

5

6

6

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

0

1

3

0

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

It’s important to voice my opinion, even if others disagree with it

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

41

44

41

41

44

39

Somewhat Agree

39

37

35

40

39

39

Somewhat Disagree

14

12

20

13

13

15

Strongly Disagree

5

5

2

5

4

5

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

2

2

1

0

2

 

 

 

 

Sex/Gender

 

 

It’s important to voice my opinion, even if others disagree with it

Overall

“Completely Masculine” Men

Other Men

“Completely Feminine” Women

Other Women

Strongly Agree

41

48

38

41

37

Somewhat Agree

39

38

40

37

41

Somewhat Disagree

14

9

18

14

15

Strongly Disagree

5

5

3

5

5

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

1

0

1

3

2

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

If someone says something I disagree with, I let them know

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

29

30

28

29

32

26

Somewhat Agree

40

45

37

33

38

41

Somewhat Disagree

21

18

27

23

21

22

Strongly Disagree

8

5

5

13

7

8

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

2

2

3

2

2

3

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

Sex/Gender

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

“Completely Masculine” Man

25

17

22

40

55

0

Other Man

21

26

28

13

45

0

“Completely Feminine” Woman

27

26

24

31

0

52

Other Woman

25

31

26

16

0

48

 

 

 

Believe COVID vaccines are dangerous 

If someone says something I disagree with, I let them know

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Strongly Agree

29

39

30

19

28

Somewhat Agree

40

32

44

47

43

Somewhat Disagree

21

21

16

28

20

Strongly Disagree

8

7

10

4

8

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

2

1

0

2

1

 

 

 

 

Sex/Gender

 

 

If someone says something I disagree with, I let them know

Overall

“Completely Masculine” Men

Other Men

“Completely Feminine” Women

Other Women

Strongly Agree

29

35

29

29

23

Somewhat Agree

40

40

35

36

46

Somewhat Disagree

21

15

28

23

21

Strongly Disagree

8

9

5

9

8

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

2

1

3

3

2

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

I know more about political and social issues than most people

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

26

23

30

28

30

24

Somewhat Agree

36

35

32

37

42

30

Somewhat Disagree

20

24

18

18

14

25

Strongly Disagree

13

13

14

12

10

15

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

5

5

6

5

4

6

 

 

 

 Believe COVID vaccines are dangerous 

I know more about political and social issues than most people

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Strongly Agree

26

32

16

24

28

Somewhat Agree

36

37

45

32

37

Somewhat Disagree

20

12

23

27

21

Strongly Disagree

13

14

13

12

11

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

5

5

3

5

3

 

 

 

Believe 2020 Election was stolen 

I know more about political and social issues than most people

Overall

Strong Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strong Disagree

Strongly Agree

26

34

24

17

26

Somewhat Agree

36

39

38

28

37

Somewhat Disagree

20

11

17

34

23

Strongly Disagree

13

10

15

20

10

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

5

6

6

1

4

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

There was significant voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

27

5

18

60

27

27

Somewhat Agree

11

3

16

18

13

9

Somewhat Disagree

9

8

15

7

7

11

Strongly Disagree

46

79

38

9

46

45

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

7

5

13

6

7

8

 

 

 

 

Party ID

 

 

Sex

COVID-19 vaccines are much more dangerous than we’re being told

Overall

Dem

Indp

Rep

Men

Women

Strongly Agree

20

7

15

38

18

23

Somewhat Agree

12

5

21

18

14

11

Somewhat Disagree

12

10

13

14

12

11

Strongly Disagree

48

71

38

23

47

47

Don’t Know/Refused [Vol]

8

7

13

7

9

8

Media contact:

Contact:                           

Dan Cassino 

Executive Director, FDU Poll    

973.896.7072/ dcassino@fdu.edu

go to what’s new