There’s no doubt that the 2016 presidential election divided opinion, but a recent poll has uncovered the extent to which it is disrupting the everyday lives of Americans.
Take Gayle McCormick, for example. Speaking to Reuters, the retired California prison guard described her husband’s support for President Donald Trump as a “deal breaker” and, after 22 years of marriage, she has decided to leave him.
McCormick, who is 73 years old, described how she felt “betrayed” by her partner who had casually mentioned during lunch with friends last year that he would be voting for Trump.
“It totally undid me that he could vote for Trump,” she told reporters. “I felt like I had been fooling myself. … It opened up areas between us I had not faced before. I realized how far I had gone in my life to accept things I would have never accepted when I was younger.”
In the end, McCormick’s husband wrote in Rep. Newt Gingrich, but McCormick’s mind was set. Although the pair still plan to vacation together, she has since moved out and into her own place.
While this, of course, is a particularly extraordinary case, the numbers show that since the election tensions have only increased. Multiple mass demonstrations and protests have taken place over Trump’s first two weeks in office following his flurry of executive orders, including one controversially instituting a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.
The poll, performed by Reuters/Ipsos between Dec. 27 and Jan. 18, showed that 39 percent of respondents had argued with family and friends over politics—a jump of 6 percent since an earlier poll.
As a result of debates and disagreements, 16 percent of participants said that they had stopped talking to a family member or friend, and 13 percent said that they had severed a relationship over the election—a response apparently more common among Democrats.
The poll turned over a number of stories where confrontations over politics had dealt damage, but it also found that 40 percent of Americans had managed to weather the political discontent by simply refusing to talk politics. One in five individuals claimed that they had, in fact, found new friendships after becoming more invested in the electoral process.
Another retiree, Sandi Corbin from East Galesburg, Illinois, met other Clinton supporters and has since traveled to visit them.
“We talk all the time now,” she told pollsters, defying the pessimism many felt at Trump’s victory. “I would say that’s a plus from the election.”