Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Red mate, blue mate: Study says married couples select on basis of politics

11.05.2011
Research looks into the politics of American mating choices

Presidential nominees carefully pick their running mates so that their ticket is in solid agreement on the issues. But what about the average married couple? A new study of U.S. spouses shows they partake in very little political vetting, but tend to walk in political lockstep throughout their relationship, anyway.

In an article to be published in the Journal of Politics, researchers examined physical and behavioral traits in thousands of spouse pairs in the United States. They found that political attitudes were among the strongest shared traits – stronger, even, than qualities like personality or looks.

That's because spouses in the study appeared to be "sorting" on the basis of politics – instinctively selecting a partner who happened to have similar social and political views. People "placed more emphasis on finding a mate who is a kindred spirit with regard to politics, religion and social activity than they (did) on locating similar mates in terms of physique or personality," according to the article.

Meanwhile, researchers found little support for the notion that partners tended to adapt to one another's political beliefs over time, a discovery that could have implications on partisan politics for generations to come.

"We did expect to find a strong political bond between husbands and wives," said John R. Hibbing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor of political science and a co-author of the study. "But we were surprised that political concordance seems to exist from the very early years in the marriage, instead of the folk wisdom of mates growing more alike politically as their relationship goes along."

The study adds to recent "sorting" research that has uncovered a surprising level of uniformity in Americans' personal political communication networks – where they live, with whom they socialize and where they work.

The new research shows that this "sorting" doesn't stop with the selection of neighborhoods or workplaces, however. It's also visible in choice of spouses, said John R. Alford, professor of political science at Rice University and the study's lead author.

"It suggests that, perhaps, if you're looking for a long-term romantic relationship, skip 'What's your sign?' and go straight to 'Obama or Palin?'" Alford said. "And if you get the wrong answer, just walk away."

Researchers were careful to note that "sorting" is not the only reason for spouses' political uniformity. Social homogamy, or the tendency for people to choose a mate from within one's own religious, social, economic and educational surroundings, plays a role.

So does inter-spousal persuasion on different issues over the years. But those factors' influences on participants' political attitudes were relatively weak, according to the study.

What might this mean for the future of American politics? One interpretation, the authors said, is that if parents transmit political traits to their children, then the practice of liberals marrying liberals and conservatives marrying conservatives seems likely to decrease the number of people in the political middle.

"Obviously, parents are very influential in shaping the political beliefs of their children," Hibbing said. "If both parents are on the left or on the right, it makes it more difficult for a child to be something different. It may be part of the reason why we see such polarization."

This means that out-marriage – a major means by which diversity enters into extended families – doesn't actually contribute much to the political "melting pot," Alford said.

"Instead, marriage works largely to reinforce the ongoing ideological polarization that we see so clearly today," he said.

The study, to appear in a forthcoming edition of the Journal, was authored by Rice's Alford, UNL's Hibbing, Peter K. Hatemi of the University of Sydney, Nicholas G. Martin of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Lindon J. Eaves of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.

John R. Hibbing | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unl.edu

Further reports about: Red mate blue mate married couple solid agreement spouse pairs

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>