There's one person who's not exactly on the guest list at American Thanksgiving tables this year.
Insider conducted a survey to determine a general ranking of conversation topics for the forthcoming holiday. We gave 12 possible topics in a randomized order and asked “Please rank the following conversation topics based on how much you'd enjoy discussing them at Thanksgiving Dinner, with (1) being the most enjoyable topic and (12) being the least.”
The results are remarkable. Any number of topics bound to make a diner queasy — be it their relationship status, their personal financial situation, their job, the inevitability of global climate change — all of these were considered preferable conversation topics to the typical respondent than touching the third rail of Trump. In fact, young people would rather throw down about religion than discuss the Donald.
Among all Americans, Trump tied with religion as being their least preferred Thanksgiving topic.
Though politics have always been non-ideal topics of intergenerational conversation, Trump's proven to be a lightning rod unlike any other. A 2017 poll conducted by FiveThirtyEight on the topic found that between 2014 and 2017, Trump managed to consolidate the ire of Americans in a way his predecessor failed to.
Our survey does present some interesting findings about safe zones:
- Everyone loves family gossip, but especially young people. Instead of discussing, say, the pressure exerted by Trump on the Ukrainian president, Thanksgiving is rather an excellent opportunity to spill the beans on when Aunt Susan fell for a dashing Ukrainian on a Carnival Cruise in the late 1990s.
- Local news topics kill it among older crowds. Want to discuss politics? Fine, as long as it's about how the new intersection down by the Ralph's is turning everyone into a maniac behind the wheel. Anything higher than a mayor — or mayors running for president — should be out-of-bounds.
- Television, movies, and pop culture are excellent topics. There are cable television networks that are not CNN, Fox or MSNBC. If you want to talk about the controversies surrounding a head of state you better be talking about Olivia Colman's excellent performance in season 3 of” The Crown.” Instead of the complicated profession of running for the Democratic nomination, why not the complicated profession of bounty hunting in “The Mandalorian?”
Across generations, federal politics has become a no-go zone.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,113 respondents collected November 12-13, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.05 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.