- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Politics brings out certain petty behaviors in people, particularly those who frequent Facebook and Twitter. To like, or not to like, to friend — or horrors — unfriend? And a retweet can be a personal matter, indeed. Politics and ideology play a pronounced role in the phenomenon, this according to an extensive survey and analysis of “political divisiveness” among Americans released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

It gets personal. The study found that liberals are more likely to dump a friend than conservatives over partisan leanings alone.

“Consistent liberals are more likely to stop talking to someone because of politics. Roughly a quarter (24 percent) have done so, compared with 16 percent of consistent conservatives and around 10 percent of those with more mixed political views,” the research says.

Liberals also tend get more riled by their social media contacts than their conservative counterparts.

The researchers queried Facebook users to see if they “have ever hidden blocked, unfriended or stopped following someone because they disagreed with something that person posted about politics.” The results: 44 percent of liberal respondents said they had ended that relationship — compared to 31 percent of conservatives, and 26 percent of the general population.

“When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds,” the research noted.

The findings were based on a survey of 2,901 U.S. adults conducted throughout March and April; the analysis was released Tuesday.

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