Love in a time of party affiliation

at 02:10 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Politics may get you a job in Washington, but it’s not very likely to get you a date. That’s the big takeaway from a fun paper to be published in the journal Human Behavior and Evolution. “ Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses?” probes how much political preferences matter in online dating. The short answer: not a lot.

Politics barely breaks into what most people put out there when attempting to attract a mate. It ranks 23rd among mentioned interests, sandwiched between “video games” and “business networking:”

Moreover, those date-seekers who do mention politics tend not to get much into ideology. Relatively few people stake out a “very liberal” or “very conservative” political viewpoint. Most land “middle of the road:”

To be sure, there’s some variation. Women with higher incomes are more likely to list politics as an interest, whereas no relationship between earnings and display of a political affiliation shows up with men. Education increases the likelihood that men will put their ideology out there. Across the board, increases in age and education correlate with more willingness to put politics into a dating profile.

How applicable these results are to those dating in our nation’s capital, however, is unclear. The sample that this data draws from may not mirror Washington demographics. The authors of this study note that, nationally, politics tends to be a “low salience” issue. Just 55 percent of the American public, for example, reported being “somewhat” or “not much” interested in the historic 2008 presidential election. Not exactly the case in a politically-charged city. Second, they guess that politics tends to come up later in dating, after a couple has become more comfortable with each other. But when your business card comes with a political affiliation, it comes a lot faster.

 
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