In this particularly polarizing presidential election, many people aren’t just asking why people don’t support their preferred candidate, but how someone could possibly support the other candidate.
That inability to comprehend the other side could stem from one issue: Many people who support one candidate surround themselves with friends who support the same candidate.
Only 25 percent of Donald Trump supporters and 18 percent of Hillary Clinton backers said they had at least some close friends who supported the opposite candidate, according to a Pew Research survey. The survey polled 4,602 adults, including 3,834 registered voters, between June and July.
The number of supporters on both sides that say they have “a lot” of friends that support the other candidate were extremely low, with 4 percent of Trump supporters saying that and 2 percent of Clinton supporters.
Thirty-one percent of Trump supporters and 47 percent of Clinton supporters say they don’t have a single friend who supports the other candidate. That number becomes even more pronounced among Clinton’s black supporters, 72 percent of which say they have no friends in the Trump camp.
Contributing even further to a lack of understanding, those who did talk with someone about the election recently were about twice as likely to do it with someone who supported their candidate rather than the opposite candidate.
Voters who have a lot of friends who back their preferred candidate are also far more likely than others to be outspoken about who they are supporting. Among those who said they had only a few or no friends who supported their candidate, only 9 percent characterized themselves as “outspoken” about their choice. Forty-five percent of those who said a lot of their friends supported the same candidate said they were outspoken about their political choices.
The margin of error for the survey was 2.3 percentage points.