New Pew research shows that the left is far more likely than the right - 75 percent more - to have unfriended someone for posting opposing political views. More telling, they also unfriended and even blocked people more if the person with opposing views argued with one of their friends and did so even if they were concerned the person with differing views might offend another friend.
Liberals in America regard themselves as part of the intellectual and technological elite and if social media usage is an indicator, they're right; 23 percent more who identify as liberals use social media than who identify as conservative. The intolerant people are actually a small subset - only 18 percent of people have blocked or unfriended a previous friend at all - so that 75 percent has to be taken in context. The angry left is more likely than the angry right to react harshly to diversity of thought but outside that the poles have a lot in common. Very liberal and very conservative people were dramatically more likely than more moderate people to 'like' a post they agreed with, with liberals doing so slightly more, and they were more likely to post a positive comment. The only area where conservatives edged out liberals was in friending someone who posted something that corresponded to their world view. Conservatives are more likely to 'friend' someone new who is similar and less likely to unfriend people who disagree.
Considerate or unwilling to step outside the lines?
Self-identified liberals were also less likely to post something at all if it might be considered politically sensitive to people on their friend lists. With 40% of all adults posting political content on social media, it can't be easy to navigate the feelings of everyone in a substantial social media group.
Self-described liberals were nearly 50% more likely than conservatives to have friends on their lists discussing politics yet moderates also had social media friends with more political content than conservatives. Do conservatives just use social media to be social? The long tail of each side of the spectrum is somewhat similar but at the top of the curve their motivations and behavior seem to be different.
On the fringes, though, there is one area where the very liberals edge out the very conservatives in tolerance. Liberals are 25% less likely to claim they 'always agree' with things their friends post. I can't even get 5 of my friends to agree on where to go to lunch so if you always agree with everything your friends say regarding politics, you are picking friends because they already agree with you on how to vote.