What’s Not to Like? Facebook Page Likes Reveal Limited Polarization in Lifestyle Preferences

Stiene Praet, Andrew M. Guess, Joshua Tucker, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing levels of political animosity in the United States invite speculation about whether polarization extends to aspects of daily life. However, empirical study about the relationship between political ideologies and lifestyle choices is limited by a lack of comprehensive data. In this research, we combine survey and Facebook Page “likes” data from more than 1,200 respondents to investigate the extent of polarization in lifestyle domains. Our results indicate that polarization is present in page categories that are somewhat related to politics–such as opinion leaders, partisan news sources, and topics related to identity and religion–but, perhaps surprisingly, it is mostly not evident in other domains, including sports, food, and music. On the individual level, we find that people who are higher in political news interest and have stronger ideological predispositions have a greater tendency to “like” ideologically homogeneous pages across categories. Our evidence, drawn from rare digital trace data covering more than 5,000 pages, adds nuance to the narrative of widespread polarization across lifestyle sectors and it suggests domains in which cross-cutting preferences are still observed in American life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolitical Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • digital trace data
  • Facebook likes
  • lifestyle
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'What’s Not to Like? Facebook Page Likes Reveal Limited Polarization in Lifestyle Preferences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this