Who could it be? Someone is prompting more political talk in the American workplace

Andrew Malcolm Posted at 4:01 pm on April 21, 2017

Call it trickle down politics.

Americans are reporting they are talking more about politics with coworkers these days than previously. Apparently, there’s a new president whose activities and antics are prompting increased discussions on all sides in the workplace.

And guess what? Most Americans seem OK with it — on all sides.

The Gallup Poll just completed a new nationwide telephone survey of 3,244 full and part-time workers in all 50 states. And it found about 60% of them said there’s much more talk of politics at work in these past four months. Only 8% said there’s less such talk.

If you’re an employer who fears that differing political affiliations and heated emotions over results of the historic Nov. 8 upset victory might prove to be a workplace distraction, fuhgeddaboudit. A substantial plurality (43%) say the increased political talk has had no effect on work productivity or quality, Gallup said.

A negative effect of more political discussion was reported by 11% of workers.

You’ll never guess the party affiliation of those most bothered by increased politics talk since Donald J. Trump became president. Yup, Democrats (16%) were most disturbed, followed by independents (11%) and by unbothered Republicans (4%).

The results probably should not be surprising, given the intense attention that the 2016 campaign and its debates attracted across the country, prompted in large part by the controversial candidacy of Trump. His electoral victory was built in large part on attracting blue-collar workers away from their usual political home in the Democratic Party.

And since taking office Trump has continued to emphasize his interest in and connection to workers, holding so-called listening sessions with miners, steel workers, farmer, automakers and signing executive orders benefiting their professions. This week, as our Jazz Shaw wrote here, Trump visited Snap-On tools near Milwaukee to tour, speak and sign a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.

Gallup also found that only about a quarter of employers (26%) had communicated with their workers so far this year.

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