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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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  • thє вlu... Osaka 2012/09/12 13:09:26 (edited)
  • Osaka thє вlu... 2012/09/12 21:11:07
    Osaka
    Actually Liberals are more likely to bring up politics where I currently live. So far I've ran into one that's only tolerant when you pay him. So there are plenty of Liberals in the Bible belt that are synonymous with the scourge of the internet. Try having them on facebook.
  • thє вlu... Osaka 2012/09/12 22:56:14 (edited)
  • Osaka thє вlu... 2012/09/12 23:32:27
    Osaka
    Looks like most of Texas is full of Moderates? I wonder what OK's looks like?

    Well Oklahoma, people outside of it tend to stereotype people from Oklahoma. Especially when they've once lived in the more Conservative parts. I have never really cared about political bias but Liberals in comparison to Conservatives where I live. Especially when I their 40s, care WAY too much about political bias. While Conservatives are not as bad, strangely.
  • Your Favorite Nerd 2012/09/11 23:46:27
    Your Favorite Nerd
    +1
    Don't talk about politics at the office OR ON SODAHEAD!
  • True~Male Your Fa... 2012/09/12 01:04:35 (edited)
    True~Male
    +1
    I talk politics on Sodahead and facebook and at work too
  • Your Fa... True~Male 2012/09/12 01:53:20
    Your Favorite Nerd
    Don't
  • thє вlu... Your Fa... 2012/09/12 13:12:15
  • fitz Your Fa... 2012/09/12 14:18:02
    fitz
    +1
    I agree with your opinion about the office because it's easier to change people's hat size than to argue with them about politics but, if politics and/or religion were not discussed on Sodahead, all that would be left is climate change and sex. Actually, you can't discuss those either without the interjection of politics.
  • thє вlu... fitz 2012/09/12 23:00:37
  • StephJames43010 2012/09/11 23:40:41
    StephJames43010
    +1
    My business teacher toldus that if you wanna get along with someone. Do not talk about either religion or politics.
  • 098765 StephJa... 2012/09/12 06:43:50
    098765
    you needed a business teacher to tell you that?
  • Dana 2012/09/11 23:39:26
    Dana
    +2
    I agree! Don't talk politics anywhere you can offend !
  • True~Male Dana 2012/09/12 01:05:35
    True~Male
    I disagree, what if you are trying to change somones mind on how to vote ??
  • fitz True~Male 2012/09/12 14:19:35
    fitz
    +1
    It's easier to make them change their race.
  • Dana True~Male 2012/09/12 15:22:49 (edited)
    Dana
    People are set in the way they gonna vote, they can believe in who they want. I gonna believe in who I want! Which is Impeach him! I don't try to sway anyone's vote that's like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
  • Dana True~Male 2012/09/12 22:08:28
    Dana
    Only a Capicorn!
  • VintageLys 2012/09/11 23:31:09
    VintageLys
    +1
    yah...not a good idea
  • Bronar 2012/09/11 23:30:49
    Bronar
    +4
    I work in a male dominated sales office where we sell luxury items. We need a successful economy to thrive. We are all at least fiscal Republicans and have no problem discussing it.
  • StephJa... Bronar 2012/09/11 23:42:10
    StephJames43010
    Most people of the same party don't have a problem. Hence the similar party.
  • Tom Trojan 2012/09/11 23:21:57
    Tom Trojan
    Depending upon where you work , it is usually not a good idea to discuss politics or religion at work...
  • True~Male Tom Trojan 2012/09/12 01:07:09
    True~Male
    I work in the public schools were everyone is liberal and hates the conservatives -- We try and get along , but sometimes a fight will break out !!!
  • memebev1 2012/09/11 23:15:33
    memebev1
    +1
    I find it best to keep quiet at your workplace. Conversations usually end up in an argument. Keeping your mouth shut always makes them wonder lol does she or doesn't she?
  • Robin 2012/09/11 23:13:29
    Robin
    +1
    I learned along time ago to avoid talking about politics and religion at work. Also.. talking about each other is a big no no
  • Julie 2012/09/11 23:12:52
    Julie
    +1
    My mum told me, "never talk about religion or politics...anywhere!" Yet....I find those topics to be the most interesting..
    However I think those topics should stay away from work...
  • Jackie G - Poker Playing Pa... 2012/09/11 23:07:12
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +1
    Logical conclusion - work is not the place for politics or, religion for that matter.
  • Max7 2012/09/11 23:02:02
    Max7
    When Senator Obama was running for president of the USA, no one had really heard of him, and when Senator Kerry asked him to speak at the DNC, and afterwards to consider running for office, he took the country by storm. Plus Bush and Cheney had become late nght show material. If you wanted a good laugh, just tune in to Leno or Letterman. It became hard to keep political talk out of the work place, early on Senator Obama began to woo Toledo. His ralleys were awesome and the group of people warm and people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Jackie ... Max7 2012/09/11 23:08:49
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +1
    I will say it took all my self control not to talk politics at work - how on earth we elected such a lack luster leader is beyond me to this day.
  • Max7 Jackie ... 2012/09/11 23:24:21
    Max7
    Perhaps your choice didn't make it, mine did, and he's far from being a "lack luster leader," whatever that means. Due to the umerited stress put upon him, I think that I have even more respect for him. It takes a real strong person to stand, and then stand some more against persecution.
  • Jackie ... Max7 2012/09/11 23:30:44 (edited)
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +2
    'Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.

    How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present") and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.

    He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political
    sponsor.

    It is easy to im...









    'Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.

    How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present") and finally an unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.

    He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political
    sponsor.

    It is easy to imagine a future historian looking it it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?'

    Edit Add for Max7 since you blocked:

    The ethnicity?? What a damn cop out - you blame something he cannot change for his incompetence. Biggest cop out is to say -- they don't like me because my hair is red, or I am too tall, or I am a white male, or I am a girl or I have blue eyes - Never let it enter your mind that you failed, blame something that was true when you took the job and still true today. Obama had more melanin in his skin when he ran, when people voted for him and today -- nothing has changed.

    It boils down to the fact that Obama is incompetent - nice guy from all appearances, good husband, loving father, good speaker but in the final analysis is incompetent. Everything in the article above is fact - no way around it. Like the hell outta him, vote for him but realize he is an incompetent failure.

    43 months of unemployment above 8% , with hispanics at 10% and blacks at 14.7%; Debt at 16 Trillion dollars - Clinton added 1.5 Trillion in 8 years, Bush added 4.8 Trillion in 8 years and Obama added 5.6 Trillion in under three years; GDP has slid down to now 1.5; food prices have doubled and tripled; gas prices have doubled and tripled; deficits of 1 Trillion and above every year; - we are in deep trouble and he is not the answer now and wasn't in 2008.

    I suggest that you are voting on race and that is why you and folks like you bring it up non-stop - it is real racism to select people because of race and then accuse others of racism when they discuss important issues -- stop the racism and think about the nation and its condition. We deserve better than a weak president wallowing in incompetence.
    (more)
  • Ron Jackie ... 2012/09/11 23:49:22
    Ron
    Then of course one could turn to GWB for a different view.
  • Jackie ... Ron 2012/09/12 00:10:19
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    Hmm, could swear he has been out of office for nearly 4 years - is he back in??
  • Mathmn Jackie ... 2012/09/12 01:58:26
    Mathmn
    His policies are still affecting us.
  • truther1 Mathmn 2012/09/12 02:44:57
    truther1
    I suppose Nixon is still wiretapping the democrat HQs from his grave? Conspiracy revealed!
  • Max7 Jackie ... 2012/09/11 23:57:00
    Max7
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I feel that the most distrubing thing that will go down in history about 2008-2012 will be the radical and disturbing rowards President Obama because of his ethnicity. His accomplishments have not been acknowledged because of ignorance and racism. Not one word in your paragraphs is accurate, because for whatever it's worth, like it or not, this man has already made history, and will always be known as the president that brought down Osama Bin Laden. He will be noted for his articulation and is academical and educational achievements.
  • truther1 Max7 2012/09/12 00:27:04
    truther1
    +2
    President Obama does have one significant contribution that will be everlasting for a political legacy. He took a nation that had largely conquered all racial divisions in the most racially mixed society on earth, and rekindled them into a towering inferno...
  • Jackie ... truther1 2012/09/12 00:35:46
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    Wow, good point - we are more divided now than we were 5 years ago.
  • Mathmn Jackie ... 2012/09/12 02:00:15
    Mathmn
    Are you serious? Bush was the best divider in the past 50 years.
  • truther1 Mathmn 2012/09/12 02:41:36
    truther1
    +1
    I bet you think Bush brought the towers down on 911, and believed he also blew up the levies in NO during katrina too! I'm familiar with your kind despite my handle..
  • Jackie ... Mathmn 2012/09/12 02:44:20
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    Nope, certainly not on race relations

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