With the holiday season in full swing, Americans are set to gather around the dinner table soon — but not everyone is happy about it.
Disagreements about political and social issues are driving forces behind the lack of enthusiasm, according to a national poll from Farleigh Dickinson University.
Older people, those prone to believing conspiracy theories and supporters of former President Donald Trump are the most eager to see relatives during the holidays, according to the poll. Younger, more liberal people, however, are less keen about coming together.
Overall, most Americans — 79% total — said they “look forward” to reconnecting with family during the holidays. Fourteen percent said they feel “conflicted,” and just 4% said the prospect of seeing family fills them with “dread.” However, responses varied among groups when split by their social and political beliefs about COVID-19 vaccinations, the 2020 presidential election and other topics.
“People who know that vaccines work [and] that the election wasn’t stolen are not happy about events where they might have to deal with people who aren’t accepting reality,” Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at Fairleigh Dickinson and the executive director of the poll, said. “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.”
But politics aren’t the only factor — according to the poll, younger Americans are “much more ambivalent” about seeing their families in general. Twenty-seven percent of people under 30 said that they’re either conflicted or dread seeing relatives, compared to just 8% of those 65 and older.
The type of food that’s placed on the dinner table on Thanksgiving could also contribute to strong emotions. 30 percent of vegetarians or vegans said they’re unsure about seeing family, according to the poll.