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This article was published on July 11, 2017

Study says Americans get meaner over politics than anything else

Study says Americans get meaner over politics than anything else
Rachel Kaser
Story by

Rachel Kaser

Internet Culture Writer

Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

When you hear about people getting shit from others online, you naturally think it’s tied to the factors most are harassed for in real life — race, gender, sexual preference. But according to a new Pew Research Center survey, it could be politics which set off the most online tussles.

Pew surveyed 4,248 American adults to discover their experience with online harassment. In total, 41 percent they had experienced some form of online harassment, and 66 percent said they’d witnessed it directed at others.

14 percent of the people surveyed said they’d been harassed specifically because of their politics. While that might not seem like a large number, it surpassed the number of people who said they’d been harassed over race (8 percent), gender (8 percent), or sexual orientation (3 percent). Of that number, men are almost twice as likely as women to be harassed over political views. Democrats and Republicans reported similar numbers, so it’s bipartisan if nothing else.

Of the people surveyed, 18 percent say they’ve experienced more serious levels of harassment, such as stalking, sexual harassment, and sustained harassment over a period of time. A large number of the people who’d experienced such harassment were aged 18-39. Unusually, harassment over politics was slightly less likely to be severe.