The election season is upon us, just ask Democrats. They have already held four presidential debates so far this year, with two more promised during 2019 and four additional between January and April of 2020.
And with election season comes all the not-so-gentle “reminders” about the differences between conservatives and liberals. You know the drill. Conservatives are gullible, prejudicial, and dictatorial; liberals are educated, compassionate, and dedicated to the welfare of all. Or, conversely, conservatives are religious, family-oriented, and great believers in the worth of the individual; liberals are socialistic, meek, and bound and determined to bankrupt the country by turning America into a nanny state.
Now, however, comes a new study by the Institute for Family Studies that confirms the existence of a distinct difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to their attitudes, views, and practices of marriage.
Some of the study findings include the following:
- Sixty-two percent of conservatives are married as compared to 39% of liberals.
- Eighty percent of conservatives say that strong families require marriage as compared to 33% of liberals.
- Fifty-two percent of conservatives say that they are completely satisfied with their own family life as compared to 41% of liberals.
- Forty-two percent of conservatives say that US marriages are weaker today than they were a few years ago as compared to 23% of liberals.
Naturally, people have been quick to come up with explanations for the differences. The most obvious knee-jerk one is actually twofold: Conservatives are more likely to be married, and married people are more likely to be conservative. Whether or not this is true, one cannot argue against the fact that among the benefits of a strong family, “social insurance” ranks high. In other words, being half of a committed couple provides you with such things as someone to take care of you when you become ill, someone to provide you with a backup income if you become unemployed, and someone to care for your kids when you can’t be with them yourself. Of course, unmarried couples can be, and often are, just as committed to each other as married couples.
On the other hand, if you have no committed partner upon whom to rely, you need to find these social insurance benefits where you can. For many, particularly single moms, this means government assistance. In the last presidential election, unmarried women voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a whopping 31 points. This voting pattern tends to stay the same regardless of the candidates running in any given election. In 2008, for example, 74% of unmarried mothers voted for Barack Obama.
Marriage Versus Cohabitation
A 2017 study found that in terms of providing stability for children, marriage is the way to go. Specifically, the study found that in over 60 countries located in both of the Americas and Europe, kids whose parents cohabited rather than married faced a far greater chance of seeing their parents split up before they themselves reached the age of 12. Or, as one study author put it, the study results “suggest there’s something about marriage as an institution that signals commitment.”
Just to be clear, MediaBiasFactCheck.com classifies the Institute for Family Studies as a “conservative think tank” and rates it as “right biased based on story selection that favors conservative causes and mixed for factual reporting.” They add, however, that “[m]ost information on this website is rooted in fact and is well sourced. There is little use of loaded language, however story selection favors the conservative view of traditional marriage.” Ultimately, as with all research, it is clear that a more concrete conclusion can only be obtained through further research without bias.
Media Bias/Fact Check itself is a website whose stated mission is to rate the political bias and factual accuracy of the various news media. It’s run by armchair media analyst Dave Van Zandt.