As if the dating game weren’t hard enough already, now there’s a new twist to the age-old practice of pitching woo: More singles want Mr. or Ms. Right to belong to the “right” political party as well. And a slew of new political dating websites have popped up to help people find a pool of like-minded candidates.
These self-described activists are avoiding mainstream dating services, which don’t identify people by political persuasion, in favor of sites such as www.conservativematch.com or www.democraticsingles.net. While some wonder if these sites – most of which are less than six months old – are just an election-year marketing ploy, the link between politics and dating is real, and experts say it’s here to stay. “We are living in a moment when there are a lot of really controversial and highly political issues,” says Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University. “The country is horribly polarized.”
That may sound a bit extreme to people who live outside the capital. But many Washington residents say that their dating agenda – stick with people who share your ideology – is slowly sweeping the country, just as an interest in politics has.
Politics has gone mainstream, says Matthew Felling, media director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, because after 9/11, people “realized that decisions they made or didn’t make have repercussions politically and globally.”
As evidence of this new trend, Mr. Felling points to the number of political books that have landed on the bestseller lists in recent months. “Politics is the new table topic,” he says, one that is likely to outlast the current electoral cycle because it represents “an increased consciousness, and that doesn’t fade.”
Yet as politics becomes more of an issue in the dating world, that doesn’t always translate into same-party dating. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by iMatchup.com, more than 80 percent of Americans would be willing to date someone with a different political outlook. A Gallup poll conducted for Match.com also found that 57 percent of singles would consider marrying someone with significantly different political beliefs from their own.
Interesting. It probably makes sense to select dating partners who have similar values, James Carville and Mary Matalin notwithstanding. If two people are passionate about a core belief, such as politics or religion, it would be difficult to reconcile divergence.