In Season 4 of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David makes a much needed love connection with actress Cady Hoffman. Their backstage moment heats up. The passion escalates. Then the make out session is popped like a balloon when Larry spots a photograph of George W. Bush on Cady’s vanity. Mood killer.
Like Larry, political leanings are a make or break factor for budding relationships. Could a Liberal-minded individual ever settle in with a staunch Conservative? It’s possible, but a new study from University of Miami political scientists shows that not only is it rare, but daters on the hunt are actively avoiding online profiles that clash with their ideological beliefs.
Casey Klofstad and his team of researchers randomly sampled 2,944 profiles from a popular dating site, comparing their dating desires against their political stance, either liberal or conservative. The available information allowed Klofstad to distill information like ethnic and religious preferences, along with whether individuals were interested in marriage and having children. Data concluded that most Conservatives were male and less likely to belong to a racial minority. Liberals were found to be more educated and disinterested in the idea of marriage and children.
The overlap between Liberals and Conservatives was their instinct to engage other daters with identical preferences. While the study did find that 57% of online daters report their political stance as “middle of the road,” Klofstad was still able to hone in on a tendency for daters to pick and choose other users that align with their way of thinking.
For Klofstad, this is a signal that America’s ideological gap is only growing. Science World Report quotes Klofstad’s study: “Parents pass their political preferences on to their children. So, if we are more easily able to find someone like ourselves by ‘shopping’ for a partner online, Internet dating could hasten this process of political polarization.”
I think Larry David would be OK with that.
Matt Patches is a writer and reporter living in New York City. His work has been featured on New York Magazine’s Vulture, Film.com, Hollywood.com, MTV, and he is the host of the pop culture podcast Operation Kino. He continues to love Groundhog Day.