How politics influences online dating has always been a fascinating area of study, one that has become even more intriguing in today’s increasingly partisan political climate.
With OkCupid adding a set of politically-charged queries to its compatibility system, this year researchers from Yale and Stanford released research that suggests singles actively seek out people with similar ideals at the “earliest stages” of relationship formation.
YaleNews recently spoke to one of these researchers, Yale University Political Science Professor Gregory A. Huber, about the study and its findings.
In the conversation, Huber speaks about what makes online dating data unique when studying the formation of relationships, explaining:
“From a research perspective, this study is interesting because, while marriages on average are quite alike in a lot of characteristics, we often don’t know why they’re alike. If two white, evangelical Protestants marry, they may be both Republican, but they may not have started dating because they are Republicans, they may have started dating because they have a shared ethnic and religious orientation.
“Usually we study couples after they have formed relationships so we can’t figure out whether they are alike because have learned to get along over the years or developed political preferences according what they perceive is best for the household.
“The online dating data allowed us to see relationships before they formed. Is this person a liberal before he’s reaching out to a woman, and is that woman a liberal before the man reached out to her? It’s an unusual feature of these data: You can look at relationships as they are forming.”
Check out the full interview here.