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Politics Podcast: The Politics Of Loneliness

Americans are spending more and more time alone, and more than a third reported experiencing “serious loneliness” in 2021. The director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development — the longest study of human life ever conducted — concluded in a new book that close personal relationships are the “one crucial factor [that] stands out for the consistency and power of its ties to physical health, mental health and longevity.”

A lack of those relationships can actually have an impact on political behavior and interest in extreme ideologies. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Galen Druke speaks with the director of the Harvard study, Robert Waldinger, about the lessons his findings have for politics in America.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

Galen Druke is FiveThirtyEight’s podcast producer and reporter.