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Obama or McCain? Politics Behind Mate Selection

Ever wondered what is the strongest shared trait that attracts people to each other and compels them to walk down the aisle with “that special someone”? No, it’s not the looks, personality or even the bank balance. Although, we confess, we too had all those qualities in mind. According to a new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Rice University, people are likely to marry a person with the same political views. One’s political attitude is a potent characteristic in the selection of a potential mate. The article is published in the Journal of Politics in April edition.

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The Research of Mate Selection

The researchers examined over 5,000 married couples in the United States. Their physical as well as behavioral traits were studied for the research. They made an interesting observation in the study. It was observed that the spouses appeared to instinctively opt for a partner who shared similar political and social views.

The Observation

The results were measured on a scale of 0 to 1 where 1 stood for perfect match. The following scores were noted among the observed couples:

  • Physical traits (body type, height and weight) scored between 0.1 and 0.2
  • Personality traits (impulsive nature, extroversion) fell between 0.1 and 0.2
  • Political ideology was more than 0.6
  • Frequency of church attendance topped the list with over 0.7 score.

John Alford, associate professor (Political Science) at Rice University and the lead author of the study opines that people are more focused on searching for a partner with similar political, social and religious notions and activities. They might not place that much emphasis on personality and physique.

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The Conclusion

The study adds to the findings of latest “sorting research” that uncovers the amazing level of uniformity in personal political communication networks among the Americans. These networks determine where one lives, with whom one socializes and where one works. This sorting is not just restricted to the choice of neighbourhood and workplace but is also visible in mate selection. Alford suggests that instead of asking for hobbies or interests, enquiring about the political affiliations of the potential spouse would be more advantageous if one is looking for a long-term romantic relationship. It definitely pays to know whether your partner is democrat or a republican before you say “I do”.

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