Study Shows GOP Couples Happier; Mother Jones Worries about Bias

Mother Jones blogger wants to end discussions of whether Republican married couples are happier than Democrats.

If same-sex “married” couples claimed they were happier than “other” married couples, the news would have been shouted in the pages of Mother Jones as the assured results of objective science. (By any scientific analysis, same-sex marriages are not marriages at all but couples in relationships who may adopt children or have children outside the relationship and then adopt them. They are parasitic on real families to some degree—or completely dependent on heterosexual intercourse for children).

But now that a study has shown Republicans are more likely to be happy in marriage than Democrats, all sorts of skepticism comes out. Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum magnanimously offers, “I’m willing to just call this a tie and move on.”

It is true that the difference goes down to three percent if you control for religion. As far as I can tell this means committed Christians who attempt to remain voting Democrats are not as likely to be less happy in their marriages as committed Christians who vote Republican. But why should there be any difference at all?

Also, of course, people who report they are happy in their marriages are not necessarily being honest about the challenges their marriages face. But usually (not always) having an optimistic outlook on one’s marriage is a help rather than a hindrance.

David Leonhardt summarizes the background of the study and the study itself at the New York Times website:

Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist, has written two recent papers noting that children in conservative parts of the country are more likely to grow up with both parents than in liberal ones. In both articles, he challenged the view that blue states are more conducive to stable family life than red states.

Now Mr. Wilcox, a professor at the University of Virginia, has published an analysis of data about individual families rather than geographical areas. And he argues this data continues to support his case that the so-called blue-state family model is overrated.

Self-identified Republicans are more likely to be married and less likely to be divorced than self-identified Democrats, write he and Nicholas H. Wolfinger, based on an analysis of the General Social Survey, an oft-studied national poll. Republicans also report being more satisfied with their marriages on average than Democrats.

Among married people between the ages of 20 and 60, 67 percent of Republicans report being “very happy” with their marriages. Among Democrats, the share was 60, as it is among independents, write Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah.

That gap shrank when the researchers factored in demographic differences between parties. Whites and the religiously observant are both more likely to be Republicans and more likely to report having happy marriages.

But the gap did not disappear. Even among people with the same demographic profile, Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to say they are happily married.

Note that there would be far fewer of such Democrats than their Republican counterparts.

Leonhardt also pointed out that the results were consistent with other studies. He also ended on a rather open-minded note:

Mr. Wilcox’s recent writings strike me as significant because they’re a reminder that conservatism also has values and cultural attitudes — about the importance of marriage and family life — that seem to improve the environment in which children grow up.

Given the widespread anxiety right now about upward mobility in the United States — about how today’s children can grow up to live more prosperous lives than their parents — it’s worth looking for potential lessons from any political ideology.

It seems to me that there will be no way to beat back the Left in the culture war if we don’t capitalize on our strengths. Instead of uber-families that get reality shows we need to each, as we get married and have children, realize we are creating a model of reality that we want others to recognize as good and desirable, even if they are in the grip of ideological and sexual delusions that prevent them from admitting it.