In Portland, by contrast, most of his friends were in long-term relationships with people they’d met in college, and were contemplating marriage.
Jacob was single for two years and then, at 26, began dating a slightly older woman who soon moved in with him.
“She was a disappointment to me,” came the answer, cryptically.
“It seemed like the country was getting more divided,” he says.
The key measurement here was what Malhotra calls “joint communication behavior.” If a message was sent from one person’s profile to another and it received a reply, that was deemed an indication of mutual dating interest.
(Which explains why my date suddenly looked a little different to me after I learned she’d pulled the lever for the maverick and the hockey mom.) In a second analysis, the researchers partnered with Ok Cupid to gather data from real-life date-seekers.Research shows that if your parents have different political beliefs, you’re more likely to be moderate, whereas if both parents have the same beliefs, it can make you more extreme.” Somewhat surprisingly, the study seemed to reveal that fiscal attitudes swayed people’s interest in a potential partner even more than social policy beliefs.Malhotra thinks this might be because religion can serve as a proxy for social values, making this aspect of the political divide less relevant than budget and tax priorities.“So it’s notable that political affiliation is having an effect this powerful and is rivaling other forms of sorting.” (The full study can be read here [PDF].) Malhotra’s takeaway?He’s concerned that partisanship might intensify if we all keep pairing off with politically like-minded souls.