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The effect of mixed politics partnering is important: When in a relationship where two people do not identify with the same party, individuals tend to be moderated by their partner and less stalwart in their ideas.Sometimes, one of them might even change their party identification to match the other’s preferences. Kent Jennings, the “gender gap”—the term used to describe the fact that women are far more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate and to identify as liberals than men are—is drastically smaller for people in long-term relationships where the partners shared different partisan and ideological positions when they met than among non-married individuals.When people do not understand the rationale behind contradictory beliefs—something we learn from talking with friends and loved ones who hold opposing views—we tend to be less tolerant toward the opposition.Some research even suggests that when we lack this information, we are more likely to think the government is illegitimate when we are on the losing side of an election.And the thing is, the increased ability to sort out potential mates according to predefined preferences may also be making the United States more politically polarized.In 1999, only two percent of American singles had used an online dating service in their search for a partner, but that number has grown exponentially in the years since.Another reason is that it is the young adult years when people are exposed to new information that challenges what they learned from their parents and which helps them to develop stable partisan identities.
As a result, recent research suggests, our political process may become more combative and even more gridlocked than it is now.In other words, you are more likely to be a Republican if both of your parents are.But the transmission of party identification from parent to child is less than perfect, and one reason is that, historically, lots of people had parents who didn’t identify with the same party. In such situations, the child is far more malleable in his or her partisan choice.And even if they don’t change their positions, when people are exposed to divergent political viewpoints from people they spend time with, they tend to be far more tolerant of opposing views.Unfortunately, this has some serious consequences for democracy.
Approximately another 20 percent met at a bar or club or at some other social gathering.