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Monday, October 24, 2016

In the game of happy marriages, Republicans are winning.

That’s what two sociologists from the University of Virginia and the University of Utah respectively, say in an analysis of married couples. Their conclusion posits the notion that the family-centric beliefs many Republicans adhere to could make the difference between successful and unsuccessful marriages.

“Conservatism also has values and cultural attitudes…that seem to improve the environment in which children grow up,” writes David Leonhardt in The Upshot. “It also seems possible that the more respect and even reverence for the idea of marriage in conservative communities affects people’s behavior and attitudes toward their marriages.”

The study, which analyzed data taken from the General Social Survey, reported that, among married people between the ages of 20 and 60, 67 percent of self-identified Republicans reported being “very happy” with their marriages, with 60 percent of both self-identified independents and Democrats saying the same thing.

Once the researchers controlled for demographic differences, the 7-point gap shrunk.

Of course, as the researchers pointed out, there are other correlative factors: Whites and Christians tend to be Republicans, and many people of color, as well as those who are friendlier to open, non-monogamous marriage arrangements are more likely to identify as Democrats.

As Kevin Drum at Mother Jones pointed out, the study is neither that surprising nor particularly noteworthy:

The differences are small no matter how you slice the data, and really, who cares? Republicans generally report higher happiness levels overall, which is understandable at one level (conservatism doesn’t challenge your comfort level much) but peculiar at another (if they’re so happy, what’s the deal with the endless anger and outrage?). But whatever the reason, if they’re generally happier they’re probably also happier with their marriages.

W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger, the researchers behind the study, say that partisan differences – culture and values – could account for the Republicans’ apparent edge in having happier marriages. But it’s possibly just a matter of perspective: As the researchers write, “Perhaps Republicans are more optimistic, more charitable, or more inclined to look at their marriages through rose-colored glasses.”

“But what we do know is this,” they write. “Democrats do not enjoy an advantage over Republicans when it comes to the quality of their marriages.”

Photo: Republican or Democrat? Katsu Nojiri via Flickr

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  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Oh puhlease…Shouldn’t that be “married Republican men?” The women they marry are after the good life CONs get by stiffing everyone else. The minute a GOP woman realizes she actually can think without Big Daddy hovering over her brain, GOP Big Daddy starts chasing skirts ala Gingrich.

  • pisces63

    when I think of conservative republican wives, I see Shlafly!!!! Maybe Carrie Nation.

  • FireBaron

    Interesting, considering you hear more about Republicans getting divorced and remarried than you do Democrats.

    • Otto Greif

      Where did you hear that? Because it isn’t true.

  • Independent1

    Is that ‘willingly happier’? Or ‘Forced, brainwashed happier”?

    My sense is that conservative women are brainwashed as they grow up to believe that women are to be ‘good little housewives’ subservient to their husbands. How else can you explain that conservative women will clearly support GOP policies that clearly work to deprive them of any personal freedom??

    To deny them contraceptives and not only that, but make them believe they’re supposed to be baby-making machines.

    To deny them the right to decide for themselves what’s best for them and their bodies.

    To deny millions of them that are poor, they right to the healthcare they need to live productive lives.

    To deny millions of them living in poverty the help they need even to exist (food and a roof over their head).

    I find it hard to believe any sane, realistic women would support GOP policies without having been brainwashed as she grew up into believing that she was supposed to live her life as a subservient peson; and therefore, whether really happy or not, to make out that she is happy.

    • Otto Greif

      You’re saying happy women aren’t happy and don’t know what is good for themselves? That’s really sexist.

  • Otto Greif

    This is unpossible!