Political views unimportant in dating

New research conducted at the University of Miami suggests that although some might say love is blind, many people refrain from advertising their political preferences on dating websites to attempt to attract suitors.
The study, published in 2011 and titled “Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses? The role of politics in human mate attraction,” was conducted by political science professor Casey Klofstad in conjunction with professors at Brown University and Pennsylvania State University.
Studies have shown that the second-most shared quality with significant others in long-term relationships is political preference. The researchers wanted to determine whether this is a factor at beginning of the dating process.
After retrieving data from 2,944 random dating profiles, the researchers analyzed the data to determine whether the online daters had denoted any political views or interest in politics.
“People were voluntarily willing to describe themselves as overweight,” Klofstad said.  “They were more likely to do that than say they were interested in politics.”
Only 14 percent of those studied indicated that they were interested in politics, while 17 percent made known that they were overweight.
Out of the 27 interest categories, an interest in politics clocked in 23, which was higher than business networking and book clubs but below video games.
Klofstad said that after analyzing the data, they determined that people predominantly identify themselves as “middle of the road,” with no definitive political preference.
The research indicated that 57 percent of online daters fell into this category.
“Either it is due to a lack of interest, a desire to have a wider dating pool, or most likely both,” Klofstad said.
For students, political ideology may play a more significant role in dating when one is particularly interested in politics.
“Amongst my group of my friends who are within our age group and passionate about politics, party affiliation plays a role in a possible person they might become interested in,” said Saira Sumbal, a junior who worked with Klofstaf on the research. “If politics are not a big part of your life than you probably wont exercise that as much.”
While the data acknowledges people’s reluctance to reveal political preferences, it has no explanation for the phenomenon.
“There is an interesting puzzle because we know politics matter in the long run but it doesn’t at the outset of the dating process,” Klofstad said. “The question is that we have to look at it as what goes on at the start of dating and getting into a long-term relationship? How do we filter out the people who disagree with us about politics and hold on to the ones that do?”
Klofstad offers two possible two solutions.
The first suggests that people are driven by evolution to produce healthy offsrping and thus choose long-termpartners who have compatible political views.
On the other hand, indivduals may be basing long-term relationships on traits, such as intellectual ability and  level of religious devotion, that often correlate with political positions.
More research is needed to fully explain these findings.


September 28, 2011


Jackie Salo

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