In 1958, just 4% of parents approved of interracial marriage for their children — a figure that has thankfully climbed to at least 86% of respondents today. Yet when it comes to one’s child marrying someone who identifies with a different political party, the trend is exactly reverse.
In 1960, about 5% of Americans expressed a negative reaction to “interparty” marriage. In 2010, about 40% did. While Republicans have somewhat greater angst about this today, a steep rise was witnessed among members of both parties in 2008, when disapproval of interparty marriage was at around 20%. During these same past few years, acceptance of interracial marriage has continued its steady incline (up from 79% in 2008).
Through stats like this and some experimental studies, researchers such as Shanto Iyengar have suggested that the effective divide between Democrats and Republicans is twice as large as the divide between blacks and whites. Or, in more duly fitting terms: partisanship is the deepest cleavage in American society.
According to research from internet dating sites, liberals and conservatives may strategically hide their political preferences from their dating profiles to maximize their reach, but nevertheless, partisan agreement is among the greatest predictors of reciprocal communication between date seekers. Apparently, most dating sites won’t even pair up people from two different parties.
Is it just me, or does this info seem to beg a Bachelor-style party-crossing reality show to be made?
Karen Cyphers, PhD, is a public policy researcher, political consultant, and mother to three daughters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.