Partisan attachment: How politics is changing dating and relationships in the Trump era

Findings from the January 2020 American Perspectives Survey

February 6, 2020 Daniel A. Cox, Jacqueline Clemence, Eleanor O'Neil

At a time when politics appears to have seeped into every part of our daily lives, new evidence from online dating platforms suggests that politics has become an increasingly important criterion in our dating decisions. The dating site, OkCupid, reported a 64 percent increase in political terms appearing in users’ dating profiles shortly after the 2016 election.[1] A 2017 study by eHarmony found that almost half of users mention Trump, either positively or negatively, in their profiles.[2] As dating app and dating site usage has increased dramatically over the past decade,[3] users have been given unprecedented discretion to select the characteristics they desire in a prospective romantic partner.[4] Some dating platforms have even been created with a specific political group in mind, such as Conservatives Only and TrumpSingles.[5]

What role does politics play in Americans’ dating lives and relationships? How much do people care about partisan preferences of their significant others? What areas of disagreement are relationship breakers? In this American Perspectives Survey, we aim to better understand Americans’ experiences with dating in the modern era and how politics informs some of the most personal decisions we make.

Dating and Politics: What Issues Are Deal Breakers?

Past research has shown that few Americans are single-issue voters who prioritize one issue above others when deciding how to cast their ballot.[6] Similarly, most Americans do not have a political issue that is a deal breaker for them when deciding whether to date someone. However, most Americans say differences across a range of political issues would make dating more difficult.

Only 15 percent of Americans say it would be impossible for them to date someone who did not share their views on climate change. Forty-one percent say it would be difficult, but not impossible. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans say it would not be that difficult to date someone who disagrees with them on climate change.

Climate change is more of a deal breaker for liberals than conservatives. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of liberals say it would be impossible to date someone who disagreed with them on climate change. Close to half say it would be somewhat or very difficult. Only 13 percent of conservatives say it would be impossible to date someone who did not agree with them on this issue. Forty percent say it would be difficult.

Gun control or gun rights is similarly not an issue that most Americans say would affect their dating decisions. Sixteen percent of the public say it would be impossible to date someone who did not share their views on gun rights and gun control. Forty-eight percent of Americans say it would be difficult to date someone who held an opposing view on this issue. Thirty-six percent say it would not be difficult.

Nineteen percent of Americans say differences of opinion on LGBT rights would make it impossible for them to date someone. Forty-three percent of the public say this would make things difficult, but not impossible. Thirty-eight percent say it would not be difficult to date someone who disagreed with them on this issue.

Americans who identify as gay or lesbian are far more likely to say this issue would affect their dating decisions. Close to half (45 percent) of gay and lesbian people say it would be impossible to date someone who disagreed with their views on LGBT rights. Approximately one-third (34 percent) say it would be difficult. Only 21 percent say it would not be difficult to date someone who held differing opinions on this issue.

Immigration is another issue that most Americans say is not a deal breaker for them when it comes to dating. Thirteen percent say it would be impossible to date someone who did not share their views on this issue. Half (50 percent) of Americans say it would be difficult, while 37 percent say it would not be difficult.

Few Americans say that a difference of opinion regarding affirmative action for racial minorities would make or break their dating decision. Twelve percent of the public — including 11 percent of white Americans and 17 percent of black Americans — say it would be impossible to date someone with views on affirmative action at odds with their own. Forty-eight percent say it would be somewhat or very difficult, while about four in 10 (41 percent) say it would not be that difficult.

Religious freedom is a deal breaker for one in five Americans. Twenty percent of the public say it would not be possible to date someone who did not have the same view on this issue as they did. Close to half (47 percent) of Americans say dating someone whose view on religious freedom did not align with their own would be difficult. One-third (33 percent) say this would not be difficult for them.

More than one in three (35 percent) white evangelical Protestants and 24 percent of Americans who belong to non-Christian religious traditions say dating a person who had a different perspective on religious freedom would be impossible. Fewer white mainline Protestants (17 percent), black Protestants (23 percent), and Catholics (12 percent) say the same.

No political issue affects dating decisions more than abortion. Nearly one in four (24 percent) Americans say they could never date someone who does not share their views on abortion. Forty-four percent say it would be difficult, and about one-third (32 percent) say it would not be that difficult.

Women are more likely than men to say the abortion issue is a deal breaker. Twenty-nine percent of women say it would be impossible to date someone whose views did not align with their own, while 20 percent of men express this view. Notably, the issue is more of a deal breaker for Republican women than Democratic women (38 percent vs. 27 percent).

How Important Is It That Your Date Believes in God?

About one in four (24 percent) Americans say it would be impossible to date someone who did not share their views on the existence of God. Thirty-eight percent of the public say this would make things difficult, but not impossible. Nearly as many (37 percent) say it would not really matter.

For no religious group is belief in God more of a deal breaker than white evangelical Protestants. A majority (55 percent) of white evangelical Protestants say it would be impossible to date someone who held a different view about the existence of God. Significantly fewer black Protestants (38 percent), Catholics (20 percent), white mainline Protestants (20 percent), and members of non-Christian religious traditions (13 percent) say it would be impossible to date someone who had a different view about God than they did. Only 8 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans — including 8 percent of atheists — say that having a different view about God would make it impossible to date someone.

Donald Trump as a Dating Deal Breaker

More Americans have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump than have a favorable view of him. About four in 10 (43 percent) say they view Trump very or somewhat favorably, while 58 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of him. Americans with a “very unfavorable” opinion of Trump substantially outnumber those who have a “very favorable” view of him (44 percent vs. 26 percent).

For most Americans, dating someone who has a different view of the president would be a nonstarter. Sixty-three percent of Americans say they would not consider dating someone whose views on Trump differ from their own. Thirty-seven percent say they would consider it.

Trump is more of a deal breaker for women than men. Nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) of women say they would be unwilling to date someone whose views of the president did not align with their own. Men are somewhat more divided. Fifty-five percent say they could not date someone like this, but close to half (45 percent) say they would be willing to date someone whose views on Trump differed from their own.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Democrats say they would be unwilling to date someone who expressed views about Trump that were different from their own. Republicans demonstrate much more openness to dating those with whom they disagree. Fifty-four percent of Republicans say they would not date someone whose opinion of Trump was different from their own, while close to half (46 percent) say they would consider it. Democratic women are much more likely than Democratic men to refuse to date someone who expressed different views about Trump (79 percent vs. 66 percent).

However, Trump is mostly a dating obstacle for those with strong feelings about him. More than eight in 10 (83 percent) Americans who have a very unfavorable view of Trump say they would refuse to date someone who had a favorable opinion of him. Similarly, a majority (59 percent) of Americans with a very positive view of Trump say they would not date someone who disliked the president, while 41 percent say they would still consider dating such a person. A majority of Americans with somewhat favorable (70 percent) and somewhat unfavorable (57 percent) views of Trump say they would be willing to date someone who held the opposite opinion.

Dating Priorities: How Willing Are Americans to Date across Lines of Race, Class, and Party?

For most Americans, sharing the same political views as a prospective date is not all that important relative to other personal characteristics. However, they do give it at least some consideration. Less than one-third (31 percent) of Americans say that sharing the same political views is one of the most important or a very important consideration when deciding whether to date someone. Thirty percent say it is somewhat important. About four in 10 (39 percent) say it is not too or not at all important.

Comparable numbers of Democrats (35 percent) and Republicans (39 percent) say having similar political views is an important factor in deciding whether to date someone. However, there are significant ideological differences among partisans about the importance of politics as a dating criteria. Close to half of liberal Democrats (46 percent) and conservative Republicans (45 percent) say it is important that the person they date shares their political outlook. In contrast, only about one-quarter (24 percent) of moderate or conservative Democrats and a similar number of moderate and liberal Republicans (28 percent) report that political agreement is an important factor in dating.

Political interest is an even less important dating consideration. Only about one in five (19 percent) Americans say that in making dating decisions it is personally important that a prospective date pays attention to politics. Thirty percent say it is somewhat important. More than half (51 percent) say it is not important.

However, there are notable political divisions. About one-third (31 percent) of liberals say that whether a person pays attention to politics is one of the most important or a very important dating consideration. Fewer conservatives (22 percent) and moderates (12 percent) express the same view.

Americans say that racial and ethnic background is not much of a consideration in making decisions about dating. One in four (25 percent) Americans say that it is one of the most important or very important for the person they are dating to share the same racial or ethnic background. Twenty-one percent say this is somewhat important. More than half (53 percent) the public say this is not an important consideration.

White and nonwhite Americans prioritize racial and ethnic identity about the same when making dating decisions. Roughly equal numbers of black (29 percent), white (25 percent), and Hispanic (23 percent) Americans say dating a person who shares their racial or ethnic background is one of the most important or a very important part of their decision-making.

Republicans are about twice as likely as Democrats to say racial and ethnic background plays an important role in deciding whom to date. Forty percent of Republicans — including 44 percent of Republican women and 36 percent of Republican men — say it is one of the most important or very important that the person they date shares the same racial or ethnic background. Roughly one in five (21 percent) Democrats say this is important to them.

Educational background appears to matter little to Americans in deciding whom to date. Less than one in five (16 percent) say it is one of the most or very important that a potential date has at least a four-year college education. Twenty percent say it is somewhat important. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that whether a person has a college education does not register as a major concern one way or the other.

Americans with more years of formal education generally weigh educational background more heavily in making dating decisions. Close to four in 10 (37 percent) Americans with a postgraduate education say that dating someone with a college degree is very important or one of the most important considerations. One-quarter (25 percent) of Americans with a four-year college education say the same.

More Americans care about religion when it comes to dating decisions. Nearly four in 10 (39 percent) Americans say whether a person shares their religious background is one of the most important or a very important consideration. Twenty-seven percent say it is somewhat important, while roughly one-third (35 percent) say religion is not an important part of their calculus when it comes to dating.

Lifestyle and life goals are more important dating considerations for most Americans. A majority (59 percent) of Americans say that whether the person shares their views on having children is one of the most important or a very important consideration. A nearly identical number (58 percent) of Americans say that a person’s smoking habits — specifically being a nonsmoker — is one of the most important or a very important part of deciding whether to date someone.

Relationship Warning Flags

Although many Americans appear to weigh politics when making dating decisions, relatively few Americans believe politics presents a major hurdle for couples. Less than one in four (24 percent) Americans say it is a major problem for a marriage or romantic relationship if a couple has different political views. Forty-six percent say this is a minor problem, and 30 percent say this is not a problem. However, Americans today are more likely to say political dissimilarities among couples is a problem than said the same a few years earlier. In 2013, only 17 percent of Americans said that having different political views is a major problem for a couple.[7]

There is general agreement across the partisan divide about how much of a problem it is when couples have different political views. Roughly equal numbers of Democrats (26 percent) and Republicans (30 percent) say it is a major problem when a couple does not share the same political outlook. However, Democrats have become much more likely to view politics as a relationship problem today than they did a few years earlier. In 2013, only 13 percent of Democrats said political differences presented a major problem for couples.[8]

Having different religious beliefs is viewed as more of an issue. Close to one-third (31 percent) of the public say when a couple has different religious beliefs, it constitutes a major problem. Forty-two percent say this is a minor problem, and 27 percent say it is not a problem.

Republicans more than Democrats say having diverging religious beliefs is a significant problem for couples. Forty-five percent of Republicans, compared to 26 percent of Democrats, say that it is a major problem when a couple’s religious beliefs are different. This view is particularly pronounced among Republican women. Half of Republican women (50 percent) say dissonant religious beliefs is a major problem, while 39 percent of Republican men say the same. Democratic women are also more likely than Democratic men to express this view (31 percent vs. 19 percent).

Spending habits are seen as being an even bigger hurdle for couples. Half of Americans say a couple that has different spending habits is likely to face a major problem. Thirty-six percent say this would be a minor problem. Only 15 percent say it is not a problem.

Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say that spending habits are an issue for couples. A majority of seniors (56 percent) say that it is a major problem when a couple has different approaches to savings and spending. Less than half (43 percent) of young adults agree.

Women more than men are inclined to say that differing approaches to spending are a problem. Fifty-five percent of women say different spending habits are a major problem for couples, compared to 45 percent of men.

Most Americans do not think that a wife earning more or attaining more career success than her husband is a problem for married couples. Only 11 percent of Americans — including similar numbers of men (8 percent) and women (13 percent) — say a wife outearning her husband is a major problem. Twenty-seven percent say this is a minor problem, while 63 percent say this is not a problem at all.

Dating Online

Online dating sites have become an increasingly important tool for those seeking romantic relationships.[9] Roughly one-third (34 percent) of Americans report that they have used an online dating site or a dating app at some point in their life.

There are considerable generational divisions in dating app and website usage. Nearly half (48 percent) of young adults (age 18 to 29) report they have used a dating app or website before, compared to 15 percent of seniors (age 65 or older). But young men report higher usage of dating apps than do young women. More than half (53 percent) of young men report having used a dating app or website, while roughly four in 10 (42 percent) young women say the same.

Online dating is generally more popular among Democrats than Republicans. Thirty-nine percent of Democrats report having ever used an online dating service, compared to 30 percent of Republicans. Democratic men are particularly likely to have dated online. Forty-four percent of Democratic men report having used an online dating app or website, compared to 34 percent of Democratic women. Republican men and women are about as likely to have used an online dating service (33 percent vs. 28 percent, respectively).

Few Americans have more experience using online dating than gay and lesbian people do. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of gay and lesbian Americans say they have used an online dating website or app. Among heterosexual Americans only 32 percent say they have ever dated online.

Most Americans who report having used an online dating site or app report that they have gone on a date with someone they met through the platform. Two-thirds (67 percent) of people who have used online dating services say they have gone on a date with someone they met online, although one-third say they have not.

When it comes to sharing personal information on their profile, most online daters stick to basic demographic information and personal interests. Few share information about their religious beliefs or political views. Only 20 percent of Americans who have ever used an online dating website or app say they shared their political views in their profile. About one-third (36 percent) included information about their religious beliefs on their profile page. In contrast, roughly three-quarters report including hobbies and interests in their online profile. Seventy-nine percent of online daters include their age as part of their profile, and half provide their educational background (50 percent) or hometown (45 percent). Fewer (36 percent) share information about their career.

Democrats and liberals who date online are more likely to provide political information in their profile. Roughly one-quarter (26 percent) of Democrats and 18 percent of Republicans who have ever used an online dating app or website report that they shared their political views in their profile. Liberals are also substantially more likely than conservatives to report having done this (29 percent vs. 19 percent).

Conversely, Republicans and conservatives are more likely to share information about their religious beliefs. Four in 10 (40 percent) Republicans and one-third (33 percent) of Democrats who have used online dating websites or apps say they included their religious beliefs as part of their profile. The ideological gap is even wider. Forty-four percent of conservatives included their religious beliefs on their profile, compared to about one-third (32 percent) of liberals.

Dating app and site users who have shared information about their political views on their profile are more likely to say they desire dating partners with similar views or beliefs. Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) online daters who have featured their political views on their profile say that in making a dating decision, it is important that the person shares their political views. Only 27 percent of online daters who omitted political information from their profile say this is very important.

Online Dating Benefits?

Despite the increasing popularity of online dating, Americans are generally divided over whether it provides a better way for folks to find the right person. More than half (54 percent) of Americans agree that online dating allows people to find a better match for themselves, but close to half (47 percent) disagree.

Men generally have a more optimistic view of the potential of online dating to sort people into better matches. A majority (57 percent) of men agree that online dating provides people with a better opportunity to find an appropriate match. Less than half (47 percent) of women agree.

Younger Americans are more positive about the potential of online dating to help people find a better match. Close to six in 10 (59 percent) young people believe online dating offers a better way for people to find an ideal match. Only 42 percent of seniors agree with that assessment.

Politics in Relationships: How Couples Meet, and How Often They Discuss and Argue About Politics

Americans meet romantic partners in a wide variety of ways. Meeting through friends and family members is the most common way Americans have met their spouse or partner. About one in four (26 percent) say they were introduced through friends or family. Seventeen percent say they met at work or a work-related event, 16 percent at school, and 13 percent through an online dating site or a dating app. Smaller percentages report meeting their partner in their neighborhood or community (9 percent); at a bar, night club, or party (8 percent); or at church, a place of worship, or a religious function (5 percent).

Although online dating is not the most common way for couples to meet, it is playing a much larger role for younger couples. Americans in newer relationships are more likely to report meeting online than those who have been dating or married for longer. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of those who have been in a committed relationship for less than three years report meeting online.

Online dating is also more popular among certain segments of the dating public. Americans who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are more than twice as likely as those who identify as straight to say they met their spouse or partner online (28 percent vs. 11 percent).[10]

Meanwhile more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners have become a less common occurrence. Even among religious Americans, few report meeting their spouse or partner at worship services or other religious functions. Only about one in 10 (7 percent) religiously affiliated Americans — and 7 percent of Christians — say they met their spouse or partner through their place of worship.

There is some discrepancy between how couples meet and how they think they will meet. For example, only 9 percent of white evangelical Protestants who are married or in a relationship report meeting their spouse or partner in church. But 37 percent of white evangelical Protestants who are not currently in relationships believe they will meet their spouse or partner in church. Americans who are religiously unaffiliated are far more likely to believe they will meet their spouse or partner at work or a work-related event than actually do (20 percent vs. 9 percent).

When Do Americans Learn About Their Partner’s Politics?

Most Americans who are currently married or in committed relationships say they were not aware of the politics of their spouse or partner before they started dating. However, most found out fairly early on. Fourteen percent say they knew their partner’s or spouse’s political views before they started dating. Nearly half (48 percent) say they found out early on in the relationship. Twenty-seven percent found out later in the relationship, and 11 percent are still not sure of their partner’s political views.

Younger adults are more likely than are older adults to say they were aware of their partner’s political views before they started their relationship. Roughly one-quarter (23 percent) of 18- to 29-year-olds who are in committed relationships or married say they found out their significant other’s views before they started dating. In contrast, only 8 percent of those age 65 or older say they became aware of their partner’s views before dating.

Americans who pay more attention to politics are also more likely to find out the political views of their partner or spouse in the early stages of their relationship. A majority (72 percent) of those who report paying attention to politics “most of the time” say they were aware of their partner’s or spouse’s views early. In contrast, less than half (33 percent) of those who generally tune out political news say they found out their partner’s views early in the relationship, and 44 percent say they still are not sure of their partner’s political views.

Liberals more than conservatives appear more attuned or more interested in the political views of their romantic partners. Liberals are nearly twice as likely as conservatives to say they were aware of their partner’s politics going in (22 percent vs. 12 percent).

Americans who met their significant other online became acquainted with their partner’s or spouse’s political views earlier in the relationship. Seventy-two percent of Americans who met their significant other online say they knew their significant other’s political views before they started dating or early in the relationship. In contrast, 56 percent of those introduced to their partner or spouse through friends or family say they knew their significant other’s political leanings early on.

Discussing (and Arguing About) Politics

About six in 10 Americans who are married or in a committed relationship say they discuss politics and government with their spouse or significant other at least a few times a week, including three in 10 (30 percent) who say they talk about politics nearly every day. Americans discuss politics much less often with friends and coworkers. Only about one in three (35 percent) Americans say they discuss politics weekly or more often with their friends, and even fewer (21 percent) say they talk about politics with coworkers.

Although politics is a regular conversation topic among most couples, few report that it is a major source of contention in their relationship. When Americans are asked which topic they are most likely to argue with their spouse or significant other about, money (21 percent) and household chores (20 percent) are cited more frequently than other issues. Thirteen percent say they most often argue about in-laws and other extended family members, while an identical number (13 percent) say how they spend time together is the most important source of contention. Eight percent say they are most likely to argue about children. Only 7 percent of Americans in married or committed relationships say they are most likely to argue about politics. Six percent say they are most likely to argue about sex.

Political Homogeneity in Relationships

Most Americans believe that their partner or spouse shares the same basic political outlook as they do. More than three-quarters of Americans currently in a relationship say their significant other has very similar (43 percent) or somewhat similar (34 percent) political views as they do. Roughly one in four (23 percent) say their partner or spouse does not generally share the same political opinions.

There is an even greater agreement among couples in views about Donald Trump. Nearly eight in 10 Americans say their spouse or partner shares similar views of Trump, including 58 percent who say their opinions of Trump are very similar.

Americans who are in a committed relationship but not married report lower levels of political agreement than married couples do. Twenty-nine percent of Americans in a committed relationship say their political views are very similar to their significant other’s views. In contrast, half (50 percent) of married Americans say their spouse has very similar views. However, among married Americans the length of marriage matters, with those who have been married for a longer period reporting greater political alignment with their spouses. Thirty-seven percent of people who have been married for less than five years say they have very similar political views, compared to 59 percent of those who have been married for 20 years or more.

Not surprisingly, Americans who report less political affinity with their partner or spouse are more likely to avoid conversations about political topics. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans with a partner or spouse with very similar political views say they discuss political issues nearly every day. In contrast, only 20 percent of those whose significant other has very dissimilar views discuss politics regularly.

Partisan Couples

Couples with different political backgrounds have become increasingly rare among the public.[11] A majority of Americans in relationships — including 69 percent of married Americans — say their partner or spouse has the same political affiliation.[12]

Democrats and Republicans are about equally as likely to share the same political affiliation with their partner or spouse. About three-quarters (74 percent) of Democrats and eight in 10 (80 percent) Republicans who are married or in a committed relationship say their spouse or partner belongs to the same political party. Fewer than one in 10 in either party say their partner identifies with the opposing political party.

Among partisans, the extent of reported similarity differs by ideology and gender. Conservative Republicans are more likely than ideologically liberal or moderate Republicans to say their significant other belongs to the same political party (83 percent vs. 69 percent), and liberal Democrats are more likely than are those with moderate or conservative ideological views to have a partner who is also a Democrat (79 percent vs. 68 percent). Democratic men are more likely than Democratic women to have a Democratic partner (79 percent vs. 70 percent). This pattern is reversed among Republicans. Seventy-five percent of Republican men say their spouse or significant other is a Republican, compared to 84 percent of Republican women.DOWNLOAD THE REPORT (PDF VERSION)DOWNLOAD


Topline QuestionnaireJANUARY 2020 APS TOPLINE QUESTIONNAIREDOWNLOAD


Survey Methodology

The January 2020 American Perspectives Survey was designed and conducted by the American Enterprise Institute. Interviews were conducted among a sample of 2,629 adults (age 18 and older) living in the United States. Interviews were conducted online using a self-administered design. All interviews were conducted among participants in YouGov’s opt-in online panel that includes adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Interviewing was conducted January 13–15, 2020.

Study respondents were drawn from YouGov’s panel through a process of purposive sampling whereby panelists are selected to match certain demographic criteria. Panelists are stratified by a combination of age, gender, race, and education, and each stratum is sampled to reflect the overall demographic distribution of the US population. Each sampling component is matched to an artificial sampling frame developed using the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement, and other databases. This method of respondent selection is designed to reduce selection bias and noncoverage issues associated with opt-in panels. It also minimizes the need for weighting.

The sample weighting was accomplished by using the joint distribution of demographic and non-demographic variables including gender, age, race, education, voter registration status, and 2016 presidential vote (or non-vote). Voter registration was imputed from the Current Population Survey Registration and Voting Supplement. Demographic weighting parameters were derived from the American Community Survey. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results.

Using survey weights in statistical analyses ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population. The margin of error for the survey is +/– 2 percentage points.


Notes

[1] Natelegé Whaley, “Dating Apps Are Getting More Political Ahead of Midterm Elections. What Does That Say About Users?,” Mic, October 20, 2018, https://www.mic.com/articles/191988/dating-apps-political-midterm-2018-elections-okcupid-bumble.

[2] Scott Harvey, “Interview: eHarmony CEO Talks Donald Trump,” Global Dating Insights,December 4, 2017, https://www.globaldatinginsights.com/interviews/interview-eharmony-ceo-talks-donald-trump/.

[3] Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson, “5 Facts About Online Dating,” Pew Research Center, February 29, 2016, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/.

[4] Gregory A. Huber and Neil Malhotra, “Political Homophily in Social Relationships: Evidence from Online Dating Behavior,” Journal of Politics 79, no. 1 (October 2016): 269–83, https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/687533.

[5] Conservatives Only, https://www.conservativesonly.com/; and TrumpSingles, https://trumpsingles.com/.

[6] Pamela Johnston Conover, Virginia Gray, and Steven Coombs, “Single-Issue Voting: Elite-Mass Linkages,” Political Behavior 4, no. 4 (1982): 318–20, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/586356.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A4362af56a7ca322763fd76fa1f91d16b.

[7] Robert P. Jones, Daniel Cox, and Juhem Navarro-Rivera, “Strong Gender Divisions in How Americans Plan to Spend Valentine’s Day,” Public Religion Research Institute, February 13, 2013, http://www.prri.org/research/february-2013-prri-rns-survey/.

[8] Jones, Cox, and Navarro-Rivera, “Strong Gender Divisions in How Americans Plan to Spend Valentine’s Day.”

[9] Economist, “The Irresistible Rise of Internet Dating,” August 17, 2018, www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/08/17/the-irresistible-rise-of-internet-dating.

[10] Respondents included in gay, lesbian, and bisexual also include those who self-identified as other.

[11] Michael J. Coren, “The Great Partisan Divide in the US Is Now Deciding Who Americans Marry,” Quartz, October 5, 2018, https://qz.com/1410962/political-partisanship-in-the-us-is-now-deciding-love-and-marriage/.

[12] For this analysis, we defined Republican partner pairs as any respondent who identifies as Republican or leans toward the Republican Party and who said his or her spouse identifies as Republican or leans toward the Republican Party. Democratic partner pairs were defined in the same manner.


About the American Perspectives Survey

The American Perspectives Survey (APS) is designed to explore aspects of American life that are not often featured in national public opinion surveys. Our aim is to identify emerging trends and changing patterns of social, political, and civic behavior among the public, as well as to better understand not only the issues on which Americans differ, but also the things we have in common. The APS will explore the challenges facing American communities, whether families and workers are prospering or in decline, and how well American institutions are actually faring. By more fully understanding Americans’ daily lives, we can illuminate the origins of our most pressing social and economic challenges.


Survey Methodology

Survey Reports

Daniel A. Cox
February 11, 2021

After the ballots are counted: Conspiracies, political violence, and American exceptionalism

The January 2021 American Perspectives Survey looks at post-election sentiments, beliefs in conspiracies, attitudes toward political violence, political segregation, and general feelings toward the United States.

Daniel A. Cox
December 15, 2020

Religious diversity and change in American social networks: How our social connections shape religious beliefs and behavior

New analysis explores the degree to which Americans’ religious networks are composed largely of those with similar beliefs and affiliations or those that are more diverse. It also explores how religious diversity among our close personal relationships serves to structure religious behavior and belief.

Daniel A. Cox, Karlyn Bowman
December 9, 2020

A turning point? Americans grapple with COVID-19 amid enduring partisan and racial divisions

The November 2020 APS explores how Americans are grappling with COVID-19 amid soaring numbers of infections, finding that more Americans say they would get a free, FDA-approved vaccine, but large partisan divisions persist. It also challenges the “shy Trump voter” hypothesis, offering possible explanations for Trump’s increased support among non-white voters.   

Daniel A. Cox, Karlyn Bowman, Jacqueline Clemence
November 18, 2020

Hopes and challenges for community and civic life: Perspectives from the nation and Indiana

The coronavirus outbreak has created tensions between urban Americans hit harder by the virus and small towns and rural communities. Despite these disparities, recently released surveys find that before coronavirus, Americans express many of the same ideas and priorities regarding their communities, revealing we may not be as divided as one might think.