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Conservatives versus liberals: The politics of dating

Differences in political views can be resolved in the search for love.
Differences in political views can be resolved in the search for love.
Colin Adamson, www.freeimages.com

Dating in Washington, D.C. can present its own unique set of challenges. There are not too many places in the United States where politics tops the list of typical discussion topics, but in Washington, D.C. political views are fair game, even on a first date. Are there differences in what conservatives and republicans are looking for in mate? According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Miami, the answer to that question is ‘yes.’ After examining nearly 3,000 profiles on an online dating Web site, researchers noted the following:

Conservatives and liberals both tend to want people who are like themselves
Like most people, liberals and conservatives tend to gravitate towards people who share their worldviews. People’s political views are typically inherited from their parents, and shaped by their personal experiences. It is not unusual then that a liberal would want to find a partner who is dedicated to left-leaning causes, or that a conservative wants to find someone who agrees with them about economic policy.

Conservative Dating Preferences
Self-identified conservatives in the study were more likely to be male, and less likely to be a member of a racial or ethnic minority group. Overall, conservatives were also less likely to be willing to date someone who did not share their current relationship status, and conservative males were less likely to be open to dating someone from a different ethnic or religious background.

Liberal Dating Preferences
The self-identified liberals in the study were likely to be younger, never married, and to be childless. The liberals were also better educated than the self-identified conservatives, and more open to dating someone who did not share their same demographic characteristics.

Examining dating preferences through the lens of political affiliation might lead one to conclude that there is little hope of bridging the divide between liberals and conservatives in order to find a mate. However, there is hope. Perhaps the most telling observation from the University of Miami study is that more than half of all people included in the study did not identify themselves as either “liberal” or “conservative.” These folks described their political views as “middle-of-the-road.” A willingness to stick to the middle ground instead of veering left or right, might indicate that most of us are open to compromise when it comes to negotiating political views in a relationship. Even for those in the minority who describe themselves as unyielding in their political views, there may yet be room for compromise.