Dating across political lines

We were curious: How many Americans are married to someone of the other party? For simplicity, we mostly focused on male-female partners who live at the same address, share a last name, are within 15 years of age (sorry, Donald and Melania Trump), and are the oldest such pair in the household.We also cut the data in other ways, such as incorporating same-sex couples as well as couples who do not share a last name.

Researchers have found that they avoid dating one another, desire not to live near one another and disapprove of the idea that their offspring would marry someone outside their party (see here, here, here). To answer these questions, I teamed up with Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist, a prominent political data firm that sells data to left-of-center campaigns and interest groups, and also to academics like me who use the data for scholarly research.

Sure, most people are not very political, but among those who are, partisanship seems to be affecting nonpolitical realms of their lives. Catalist maintains a continuously updated database containing records of personal, political and commercial data for nearly all American adults.

That phenomenon motivated a colleague and me to gather data about mixed-partisan marriages. We focused on registered voters in the 30 states that track voters’ party affiliation.

People sort into relationships with co-partisans, but not that much.

Third, there is a much higher rate of mixed-partisan couples among younger pairs than older pairs.

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