Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Political affiliation of prospective partners: Those in the political out-group are seen as less attractive, less dateable, and less worthy of matchmaking efforts; these effects are modest in size

The Democracy of Dating: How Political Affiliations Shape Relationship Formation. Matthew J. Easton and John B. Holbein. Journal of Experimental Political Science, Jul 29 2020.

Abstract: How much does politics affect relationship building? Previous experimental studies have come to vastly different conclusions – ranging from null to truly transformative effects. To explore these differences, this study replicates and extends previous research by conducting five survey experiments meant to expand our understanding of how politics does/does not shape the formation of romantic relationships. We find that people, indeed, are influenced by the politics of prospective partners; respondents evaluate those in the political out-group as being less attractive, less dateable, and less worthy of matchmaking efforts. However, these effects are modest in size – falling almost exactly in between previous study estimates. Our results shine light on a literature that has, up until this point, produced a chasm in study results – a vital task given concerns over growing levels of partisan animus in the USA and the rapidly expanding body of research on affective polarization.

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