Color them surprised — some 38% of social networking site users have discovered through their friends’ postings that their political beliefs were different than they thought. Democrats, liberals and people with very conservative views were more likely than others to have expressed surprise about someone’s views as seen on social networking sites.

In all, 18% of users have chosen to block, unfriend or hide someone because he or she posted too frequently about political subjects; the user disagreed with the friend’s postings or found them offensive; there was an argument over political issues; or the user worried that the political nature of a post would offend other friends.

Liberals are the most likely to have taken one of the aforementioned steps. In all, 28% of liberals have blocked, unfriended or hidden someone on a social networking site, compared with 16% of conservatives and 14% of political moderates.

But the majority of users (82%) have not taken any steps to ignore or disconnect from someone for political reasons. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.