View Full Version : Republicans pwn Democrats (in happiness)

03-15-2006, 11:34 AM
Political Party Affiliation

http://pewresearch.org/assets/social/7-interior.gifSome 45% of all Republicans report being very happy, compared with just 30% of Democrats and 29% of independents. This finding has also been around a long time; Republicans have been happier than Democrats (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=39) every year since the General Social Survey began taking its measurements in 1972. Pew surveys since 1991 also show a partisan gap on happiness; the current 16 percentage point gap is among the largest in Pew surveys, rivaled only by a 17 point gap in February 2003.

Could it be that Republicans are so much happier now because their party controls all the levers of federal power? Not likely. Since 1972, the GOP happiness edge over Democrats has ebbed and flowed in a pattern that appears unrelated to which party is in political power.

For example, Republicans had up to a 10 and 11 percentage point happiness edge over Democrats in various years of both the Carter and Clinton presidencies, and as small as a three and five percentage point edge in various years of the Reagan and first Bush presidencies. Also, we should explain here a bit about how our survey questionnaire was constructed. The question about happiness was posed at the very beginning of the interview, while the question about political affiliation was posed at the back end, along with questions about demographic traits. So respondents were not cued to consider their happiness through the frame of partisan politics. This question is about happiness; it is not a question about happiness with partisan outcomes.

Of course, there's a more obvious explanation for the Republicans' happiness edge. Republicans tend to have more money than Democrats, and -- as we've already discovered -- people who have more money tend to be happier.

But even this explanation only goes so far. If one controls for household income (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=8), Republicans still hold a significant edge: that is, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats; middle-income Republicans are happier than middle-income Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats.

Might ideology (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=9) be the key? It's true that conservatives, who are more likely to be Republican, are happier than liberals, who are more likely to be Democrats. But even controlling for this ideological factor (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=10), a significant partisan gap remains. Conservative Republicans are happier than conservative Democrats, and moderate/liberal Republicans are happier than liberal Democrats. Hmmm, what other factors might be at play? Well, there's always...


http://pewresearch.org/assets/social/12-interior.gifPeople who attend religious services weekly or more are happier (43% very happy) than those who attend monthly or less (31%); or seldom or never (26%). This correlation between happiness and frequency of church attendance has been a consistent finding in the General Social Surveys taken over the years.

The same pattern applies within all major religious denominations. For example, 38% of all Catholics (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=14) who attend church weekly or more report being very happy, while just 28% of Catholics who attend church less often say they are very happy. The survey also finds that white evangelical Protestants (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=13) (43%) are more likely than white mainline Protestants (33%) to report being very happy, but this difference goes away after taking frequency of church attendance (http://pewresearch.org/social/chart.php?ChartID=15) into account.

03-15-2006, 12:12 PM
Delusional people generally are happier.

03-15-2006, 03:20 PM
Not if they're having a bad trip hallucination, like liberals. "AH! Carbon is going to kill the world!"

03-15-2006, 05:14 PM
Well republicans have a lot to happy about since they've got there man in the White House making all kinds of wacky decisions.

03-16-2006, 10:26 AM
The survey points to God as the source of happiness. That's why I included that section. Personally, I believe in God because of Arizona ice tea. That stuff's definitely made by devine inspiration!