Political sorting in social dating relationships

Gregory Huber and Neil Malhotra have a new research paper Political Sorting in Social Relationships: Evidence from an Online Dating Community (pdf).  Here is one useful bit:

Relative to the average standard deviation by respondent for each outcome…shared ideology increases interest in responding by 12% of that amount, interest in long-term dating by 16%, and assessments of shared values by 20%.  By the same comparison, shared lack of political interest increases assessments of likelihood of responding by a statistically significant 18%, but has more modest…effects on interest in long-term dating and assessments of shared values, respectively.

There is much more data in this paper, including a discussion of which issues matter to people the most.  Here is one upshot:

…online dating pairings where communication takes place display greater political homogeneity than the population as a whole.


while the abstract is a lesson on scientific honesty, you get into the discussion part only to find these people practice the sport named "jumping into conclusions".

Abstract: "Leveraging a novel dataset from a large, national online dating community, we examine how three types of political characteristics—political identity, issue positions, and political engagement—affect people’s initiation of social relationships." Emphasis on initiation of social relationships.

Discussion: "In particular, homogenous parents may produce more ideologically extreme children via socialization because the transmission of attitudes from parents to children is believed to be heightened when parents share similar beliefs (e.g. Jennings and Niemi 1968; Jennings et al. 2009) if political attitudes are partially the result of genetic transmission (Alford et al. 2005), then the lack of mixing of highly-variant traits will also result in less-moderate offspring. Finally, evidence of assortative mating increases support for genetic explanations of variation in political attitudes."

STOP! Data says Mike is more likely to send a message to Jenna on the dating site due to political preferences statements. Also how likely is Jenna to respond to Mike. That's it.

Citing a couple publications that implies the couple that just met, had kids and never changed political attitudes changed along time, it's not honest. It would be more honest state: "if you want your kids have your political beliefs, get married with a compatible partner". Also, lots of children are born outside marriage, that may explain why crazy genetics fans predictions do not occur.

I propose "The Journal of Unexplained Methods and Results."

I would consider it an intelligence test. It would be hard to maintain a relationship with someone that was an opinionated idiot.

I wonder if the dating site also identifies what the potential date partners consider as appropriate date behaviour.

Conservatives probably have a small set of appropriate behaviour before marriage.

I bet, though, libertarians are, well, libertarian..

Ive seen research on this before. Women who labelled themselves as Liberal or Very Liberal were far less likely to date outside their political class than conservative women or men of any stripe, although Liberal men were less tolerant than conservative men.

Judging from my own Facebook friends, I see a large number of political posts from my liberal friends, many but less from my libertarian friends, and the fewest from my conservative friends. Knowing them, i know that the intensity of their preferences are similar. What does it tell us that liberals pipe up more?

At this time, desperation is a likely motive but they have always been more vocal. They have a much higher bumper sticker ratio. Im sure there is a psychological explanation, but we will have a hard time finding a psychologist who will undertake and report the findings.

I have seen the opposite behavior among my facebook friends. I suspect people are more willing to express their opinions among whom they expect are like minded and less likely to go out on an edge otherwise. To a certain extent you can see this sorting geographically in which people migrate to areas they are more likely to fit in, as urban rural and coast hinterland divisions indicate.

Tyler expects dating relationships to be non-social by default.

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