Is This Election Stressing You Out? You’re Not Alone

Published: Friday, October 21, 2016 - 4:28pm
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If it feels like you can’t escape Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton wherever you turn right now, you’re not alone. The American Psychological Association released a survey this week that shows more than half of Americans say the election is stressing them out.

More than half of Americans surveyed say the campaign is a very or somewhat significant source of stress in their lives.

The survey showed that it’s true for people who are young and old.

The survey also found Hispanics were most likely to say that the election is a source of stress for them.

So, what does this mean for the country’s political parties?

According to University of Arizona professor Samara Klar, the APA survey results aren’t surprising.

“A lot of people are hesitant to even identify with either of the two parties,” she said. “And its’ largely because there’s so much negativity in politics, there’s so much aggression, so much combativeness, and most Americans don’t see themselves like that. And that’s not how they want to identify.”

Klar studies political psychology and public opinion and her most recent work is focused around the rise of Independent voters in America, a trend she said has been increasing in recent years.

“Right now, it’s at about 40 percent of Americans say they are independent,” she said. “We know that 40 percent of Americans are not voting for third party.”

Klar said these Independents still have party affiliations, they just don’t want to identify as a member of a party.

That means that parties may have trouble getting people to volunteer, put up lawn signs, and help campaign for candidates.

“I think one of the biggest problems is that Independents don’t necessarily want compromise,” Klar said.

In an experiment she conducted, Klar said, people became very unhappy when it was their party that compromised.

“In American politics, compromise means the other party compromises,” she said.

But, Klar said she thinks that if the tone of the political debate was more civil, that might bring Independents back into the fold.

“My impression from researching this for the past few years is that Americans are very comfortable with debate and they’re comfortable with disagreement,” she said. “But, they just want it to be done in a civil, mature fashion.”

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