PUBLIC OPINION > Don't Talk Politics at Work

Living 2012/09/11 20:00:00
With the presidential election just a couple months away, political conversations are almost unavoidable. But is it ever inappropriate to engage in political discourse? What about the workplace? Is that simply an exercise in free speech and open communication, or a recipe for disaster? We asked the public if it's OK to talk politics at work.

Open political discussion is essential in a democratic country, but about two-thirds of people think that bringing it into the workplace is a bad idea. Most people agree that there's a fine line between a discussion and an argument, but with a topic as volatile as politics, a calm discussion could very quickly turn sour. Some spoke from experience. It could turn out fine, but it's usually not worth the risk.

Mind the Moderates

Conservatives and liberals voted similarly on this issue -- 40% and 37% were OK with workplace discussions, respectively -- but voters who fell in the middle were less than enthused. Only 22% of moderates think it's OK to discuss politics at work. It would follow that people who call themselves moderates are less confrontational.

Men Might Go for It

Men were a bit more likely to condone politics in the workplace. Since men are typically a little more competitive, it would make sense that they're more eager or willing to get into it over healthcare and the economy, but ultimately it was only an 11% difference -- about a third of men, compared to about a quarter of women.

Age Is Not an Issue

There weren't actually that many other demographics that seemed to correlate with response. In fact, the age group most willing to talk politics at work (45-54) was only a few years older than the age group least willing to talk politics at work (35-44). Teens were more willing than most, though not by much.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about politics in the workplace. We'd love to hear from you!
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  • HappyGuy 2012/09/12 04:36:07
    Never at work
  • Bobette 2012/09/12 04:32:24
    Not a good idea...especially now when the country is so polarized and jobs are not a dime a dozen!!!
  • Texas Johnny 2012/09/12 04:08:51
    Texas Johnny
    Especially at a public school. I am one of only 10 conservative teachers on a staff of 130 including the principal and the assistant principals. We keep our heads down.
  • HappyGuy Texas J... 2012/09/12 04:38:06
    In our schools we have to pretend to be liberal or if you're conservative they give you the worst kids in the school
  • Texas J... HappyGuy 2012/09/12 14:12:35
    Texas Johnny
    That is true in my case. I seem to get some real pinheads!!
  • HappyGuy Texas J... 2012/09/13 03:50:25
    We conservatives get dumped and craped on by the liberal establishment --A liberal will get a promotion before a conservative will.
  • Texas J... HappyGuy 2012/09/13 17:35:33
    Texas Johnny
  • HappyGuy Texas J... 2012/09/14 23:43:49
    I 'm going to tell everyone at work to vote for Romney in an email -LOL
  • Texas J... HappyGuy 2012/09/15 01:59:56
    Texas Johnny
    Rock ON!!!!!
  • Waiting in the Wings 2012/09/12 03:33:11
    Waiting in the Wings
    The extent of politics discussed at my job is me getting those eligible to vote to register to vote and reminding people to vote. That's it. How they choose to vote or what they believe in is their business, not mine.
  • GoodEncounter 2012/09/12 03:29:19
    Politics is a topic that people don't usually agree or disagree on politely. That's obvious by some of the posts and responses on this site. It's better for working relationships that you don't discuss it at work because of the possible fall out.
  • overlord rai 2012/09/12 03:25:24
    overlord rai
    such things shouldn't discussed in the workplace.
  • Cal 2012/09/12 03:18:01
    Politics at work creates bad blood. I stay away from it.
  • Christopher Kirchen 2012/09/12 02:51:21
    Christopher Kirchen
    I believe that thinking people talk about politics, because it's what drives the country, and the world.
  • Lisa 2012/09/12 02:25:37
    Yes more people need to speak up wherever they are. Americas future is at stake !
  • dd214sjcca 2012/09/12 02:12:12
    It is like asking folks to not act out their religious values at work. That is not possible. We are who we are.
  • Buoyant... dd214sjcca 2012/09/12 02:41:20 (edited)
    Buoyant Leadraft
    i had to fire a bible thumper the other day. She would always bring a brown bag lunch to the break room and read the bible quietly by herself in the far corner of the room. Always on time, always helpful. She had to go. My other employees said she gave them the creeps. I think she might have been a serial killer. Oh well, we will never know.
    Sweet girl though.
  • Level Buoyant... 2012/09/12 14:29:54
    And Liberals call us intolerant and hypocrites. If it had been the reserve there would be a fire storm. Wake up to the hypocrisy.
  • bye 2012/09/12 01:54:23
    Look lets be real I can talk about anything to anyone but if they start getting mad you just change the subject don't push them to flaming.
  • Mathmn 2012/09/12 01:46:10
    Not in today's world where many see those with whom they disagree as "enemies".
  • HappyGuy Mathmn 2012/09/12 04:40:20
    The liberals havebecome so mean spirited
  • fitz HappyGuy 2012/09/12 14:04:09
  • Christo... fitz 2012/09/12 16:56:28
    Christopher Kirchen
    You disagree?
  • volley15 2012/09/12 01:40:09
    I have literally seen two grown men between the ages of 35 and 45 start a fist fight over conflicting political view points. It was absolutely ridiculous. One was a Tea Party member and the the other a progressive. Both of these grown men were at work, and on the clock (both have children). It was ridiculous.

    Needless to say both of them were fired.
  • Brispir 2012/09/12 01:14:22
    I get tired of hearing EVERYBODY telling me, not who to vote for, but who NOT to vote for. I'll be so glad when election season is over.
  • Ladd Brispir 2012/09/12 07:20:10 (edited)
    Brispir, the right person to vote for is waiting right in you're owen intectect to pull the lever for ! You could only guess where I'm at in all this. Right ? You know what to do for the good of our country ! You like my reply ? Real Americans know what to do this time ! Get it ?
  • Brispir Ladd 2012/09/13 01:09:32
    Real Americans speak English.... at least they used to.
  • Ladd Brispir 2012/10/02 06:14:24 (edited)
    Right Brispir, The ellis Island station used to screen for sicknesses ! I don't think our Government doesn't even care anymore ! New people into this free country used to kiss the ground and put on a cowboy hat & get into what America is all about ! Now they get SSI & other Government help as a new way of life at our expence ! I happend to know that Barack Hussein Obama only wants votes from these over the fence workers to get citizenship and a drivers certificate & then on to a voter regestration for democrats even in Spanish ! This is not just an opinion ! It's fact ! Romney & Ryan are stronger figures than this alien BHO can ever be ! Plus we know who they are ! They would hold our Constutution to a higher standard than BHO has ! I hope you help us out in November ! - NOBAMA 2012 -
  • Brispir Ladd 2012/10/06 13:09:34
    And as I said earlier, you're only telling me who NOT to vote for.. You're only giving me reasons NOT to vote for somebody, as opposed to any reasons why to vote FOR somebody. See, Obama and Romney are both bad selections for president. Why would I want to vote FOR either of those.... Now don't give me reasons why NOT to vote for somebody, but tell me... why should I vote FOR a certain candidate? What will that person do to help the American working class citizen?
  • True~Male 2012/09/12 01:01:36
    It's called freedom of speech
  • Steveth... True~Male 2012/09/12 01:14:42
    Not if you work for me; it's my way or the highway! OK All together now; the two things we don't talk in business are RELIGION and POLITICS! I'd warn a person once and the second time fire them. Any other stupid questions?
  • True~Male Steveth... 2012/09/12 04:06:10 (edited)
    Then you would be sued --- Ok ? I would get an attorney and sue for My Constitional rights !! What are U a commie ?
  • Steveth... True~Male 2012/09/12 05:23:17
    No! You are wrong. It's my time and my job. It's my way or the highway. Define Commie.
  • knothead Steveth... 2012/09/12 14:06:25
    Thats easy look at Washington D.C.
  • Steveth... knothead 2012/09/12 18:19:22
    Knothead, do you believe the fools we fools send to Washington have enough coherence to even have a label other than greed and anything in common other than that they gorge themselves at the same feeding bin?
  • True~Male knothead 2012/09/15 13:11:59
  • fitz Steveth... 2012/09/12 14:07:55
    The people that spout their Constitutional rights are often the most illiterate about it.
  • Steveth... fitz 2012/09/12 18:21:47
    Fitz, we have a Constitution? Have you heard of the Patriot Act? The only rights one has under a totalitarianism is what one takes by force.
  • True~Male fitz 2012/09/15 13:13:04
  • fitz True~Male 2012/09/17 14:29:28
    Your spelling proves my point.

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