2011 September 23 Friday
Online Daters Strike Non-Partisan Pose

No mention of politics when doing the mating dance online.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — New research suggests that individuals attempting to attract a mate often avoid advertising their political leanings. The findings, co-authored by political scientists Rose McDermott of Brown University, Casey A. Klofstad of the University of Miami, and Peter K. Hatemi, a genetic epidemiologist at Pennsylvania State University, are published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

This makes sense to me. Why restrict the size of your potential mating pool over a characteristic that won't reduce the reproductive fitness of your offspring? Few guys will reject some hottie girl because she's a liberal Democrat. Similarly, a woman is unlikely to reject a solid wealthy alpha who leans right.

At a later stage of the mating ritual do people filter for characteristics that make them share more political views with their spouse. Or do they move toward their spouse in political views? Women who are married vote more right wing than women who are single. Though that's partly due to single women wanting services from the state that a husband would otherwise provide.

“Because we know that long-term mates are more politically similar than random attachment might predict, we were interested to see how people seeking a mate end up with people who share their political values,” said McDermott. “This is particularly important because political ideology appears to be in part heritable, and so mates pass their ideology on to their children.”

Online dating is very non-partisan.

For their study, titled “Do bedroom eyes wear political glasses? The role of politics in human mate attraction,” the research team randomly sampled 2,944 profiles from a popular Internet dating site and examined whether people indicated an interest in politics or selected a specific political view. They found that only 14 percent of online daters included “political interests” in their profile, which ranked 23rd out of 27 interest categories — just below “video games” and above “business networking” and “book club.”

Another way to look at it: women are more practical than men and are less interested in abstract ideology. That makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Women were selected to want a provider and protector while they raise the kids. So political interests end up weighing less for women. At the same time, men are programmed to want fertility signals. So men are much more focused on hot-or-not. Politics is something they can argue about with other men. How many political debates by guys in a bar have been interrupted by a hot woman walking by? Plenty.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 September 23 05:28 AM  Human Nature Mating

bjk said at September 23, 2011 2:14 PM:

Being liberal is a marker for lots of other things, like being sexually liberal, pro-choice, and not too religious. And as we all know, conservatives are just sexually repressed and endorse an ideology of hate because they're not getting any. So that too.

Bob Arctor said at September 23, 2011 11:04 PM:


George Barna's research on sexual behavior has consistently found no significant differences between either atheists and devout Christians or between liberals and conservatives.

For 19 people out of 20 ideology is just a flag to fly and a community which to belong to; the percentage of people who deeply internalize their beliefs is probably somewhere in the low single digits.

WJ said at September 24, 2011 12:30 PM:

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about this. I'll simply leave you with the views of The Asylum Street Spankers.

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