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Political leanings, marriage and kids


YPestis

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I came upon this:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/121571/Marri ... ation.aspx

(not breaking link, it's just gallup)

which was a gallup poll on marriage. It states that marriage was a key deciding factor on political leanings. They adjusted for age and race, both factors in political leanings, and still came up with a marriage gap. Married couples tend to vote Republican and singles tend to vote Democrat. The gap is significant enough that I feel there may be a real ideological reason for this.

The gallup analysis suggests that since marriage is also an indicator of religiosity, this could be a driving factor in the political divide:

Marriage is a predictor of conservative ideology and conservative positions on social issues, which in turn predict high levels of Republican identification. Being unmarried is a predictor of more liberal ideology and more liberal positions on social issues, which predict higher levels of Democratic identification. Marriage is also associated with religious intensity, including church attendance and importance of religion in one's life. These measures of religion, in turn, are important predictors of party identification. But it is uncertain whether religion, ideology, and party lead to choice of marital status, or whether marital status leads Americans to different ideological, religious, and partisan choices.

It's that last comment that caught my eye. Do people change their political affiliations when they marry? It opens up a larger question of whether we become more conservative with marriage and kids.

I can only theorize here. I think many people do go back to their roots when they start their own families. You try new things as a single, "freed" from parental supervision. When you marry and have kids, you settle back into the pattern your parents set, and your lifestyles change in accordance. Maybe there's something about having kids that has people mimicking their parents in the end?

My own SO have stated his interest in going back to the church once we have kids. He was provided moral structure in the church and wants to do the same for our kids. With my marriage, I actually feel hubby has taken to voting more Democratic. He says his views hadn't changed, just the state he lives in LOL. Hubby also says the further he lives from his conservative Republican parents, the less his views are like theirs'. So, with my own husband, we are going against the gallup statistic. Until we have kids, I'm at a dead end answering my own question.

I think posters here tend to tilt left and (I summarize) vote Democrat. However, perhaps the parents on the forum can explain their own changing political views when they had kids. Did your views change on issues after you had a family? Do you support new issues now? Withdrew support on other issues?

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I suspect that people with more conservative leanings are more likely to marry, as opposed to marriage magically changing more liberal people into conservatives.

Also - how do they define marriage? Include same-sex marriages, and the results may be different.

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I don't think anyone necessarily changes once they marry or have kids. We have no kids but hubby has always been democrat and I changed my views. So I was reverse of this study. The single life is often associated with immaturity and selfishness and marriage matures you. But the reason a person may change their stance may be because of economic status when they marry. Say if a single woman or man is left leaning, they could marry into money and then change their views completely. But then there's Ann Coulter. She is a single conservative. I can't see her changing her stances. It is really hard to say what inlfuences a person.

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I suspect that people with more conservative leanings are more likely to marry, as opposed to marriage magically changing more liberal people into conservatives.

Also - how do they define marriage? Include same-sex marriages, and the results may be different.

I think the poll only counted legal marriage so same-sex marriage is minimal (as it's illegal in most states).

I did think about the gay vote. Gay domestic partnerships would more likely vote Democrat, but the marriage gap in the poll is significant enough that I don't think we can count on the small group to alter the numbers. There's double digit differences for singles who lean Democrat.

It's possible gallup had it right and that people who marry are more conservative and those that don't tend to be more liberal. However, the option that marriage changes people's political leanings is an intriguing one....

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I think the desire to marry has less to do with religious and political affiliation. Sometimes it comes down to finances.

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Meh. According to the detailed "not married" categories, that designation includes groups like separated people, divorced, widowed, and people living in domestic partnerships, all of which lean far more Democratic than Republican. Remember, correlation does not equal causation. Rather than marriage turning people into conservatives, it seems much more likely (according to the detailed "not married" information) that people who are more willing to co-habitat, divorce, separate, or be in domestic partner ships are alsp more liberal while, surprise surprise, people who are conservative are more likely to stay married rather than join those divorced/separated/etc groups.

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I didn't change after I got married and had a kid, neither did my husband. I think our beliefs only got stronger. We're liberal atheists.

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It's nothing notable. Conservatives are more likely to be rural and religious and thus marry young. Educated liberals marry tend to marry later in life. Religious conservatives are less likely to divorce or live together an forgo the marriage license. Thus, at any given time, there are more married conservatives than liberals.

So the causation probably flows more from regional culture group to political leanings and behavior in regards to marriage. Not that marriage itself changes people's political ideas. :)

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I can't speak for everyone obviously, and my political views were liberalizing slowly in any case. I was a conservative as a teenager and young adult, and very religious, too. My views started changing much more rapidly when I found that I was marginalized as a single young adult in the church. The church, who said they were supportive of everybody, was actually less egalitarian than those evil gays and people interested in social justice. Women who were married were respected, to a certain degree, especially if they married young and had children. Independent female voices were decidedly not.

So I propose a different theory than "married makes you conservative". I propose that people align themselves with the party that gives them most political authority and respect. For very young married couples, who are often looked down upon in some educated circles as being naive and shortsighted, they align themselves with religious Republicans, who lionize them as keepers of the faith and bearers of the next generation. Young single people, being not so focused on family, align themselves with more liberal theology, where their energies are directed towards social justice, and grand plans to change the world, and where, not coincidentally, less authoritarian family structures and independent voices are valued.

If I hadn't been so rejected in the church, I may have never left. But my political views changed first - I began to resent the self satisfied smugness of my young married peers and the respect afforded to them by church elders. I began to identify with feminism long before I let go of my belief in Jesus or salvation or the rightness of submission.

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Now that I'm married, with a child, socially it would be easy to go back to church and slip right back into the routines and roles that I experienced in my childhood. It would undoubtedly be very satisfying in a way. But my ideology has changed, for one thing - I simply don't believe the same things anymore. More important to holding me back, however, is that I remember all too well the sting of moral censure. I have seen the dark authoritarian underbelly of the church, and it disgusts me. I don't want to be part of a structure that makes people feel that way, even though my own status within it has changed.

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The older I get, the more liberal I become. My husband is a moderate conservative and I am slowly becoming far left. As a teen, I was unpolitical. After 9-11, I took a hard swing to the right that was caused by fear and an embarrassing bit of nationalism.

I think that having daughters made me swing more to the left. Because a conservative world is not safer or more fair to women, having daughters made me think through my beliefs.

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The single life is often associated with immaturity and selfishness and marriage matures you.

This is very offensive and not true in my experience. I know just as many mature singles as I know immature married couples. (and the opposite.)

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This is very offensive and not true in my experience. I know just as many mature singles as I know immature married couples. (and the opposite.)

Yep. This is exactly the attitude I was talking about encountering in the church above. I wasn't "selfish". I wanted to be married. At the time, I was very embarassed that no godly man realized my worth and wanted to pursue me. But still I was belittled.

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Before I got married I was registered independent but 99% voted Democrat. I was going through one of those young rebellion "Don't you label me!" phases. :P After I got married I changed my registration to Democrat, but the way I voted stayed the same. My husband is a democrat/agnostic. Always has been - always will be. My family was very conservative Republican, go to church most Sundays. I stopped going to church on a regular basis once I moved out of the house (college). I never really minded going, but it wasn't something I got a lot out of, so if I had something better to do on Sunday, I skipped. My dad liked to tease/complain that my husband corrupted me, but it's more that I just mostly didn't share my political/religious views with them. I saw no need to make every dinner a battleground. We saved that for special occasions. :D

After we had a child I started going to church again. Our culture is very tied into our church, and I wanted him to have a basic background and understanding of it and to meet other kids of our nationality/faith. We went for about 5 years and have stopped again. I think we got something out of it, but not enough to stick with it.

I think when you have children you (hopefully) want to give them a stable life. You want to teach them your values and mores. I do not think that conservative republicans hold the corner on values. In fact, I think some of their stated values are pretty messed up. So I guess that was my long winded way of saying that having a child and getting married has not made me more conservative. Oh and I think we all have our moments of selfishness and immaturity. I had them as a single person and have certainly had them as a married person. I want to model adult, responsible, giving behavior for my child but don't always make it. I'm human. We try, we fail, we do the best we can with what we've got and hope it all works out in the end. And now I'm off to apologize to my husband for sticking my tongue out at him this morning during an argument I was losing. See - adult behavior. :D

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When I was a regular church-goer in the 70's and 80's I was fairly liberal in my politics. As I've gotten older, I find I don't believe in the same religious "truths" that I did as a younger person. I'm much more liberal, theologically speaking, than I used to be and don't go to church anymore. However, my political ideas have swung to the right, especially after 9/11. I'm much more conservative, politically, than when I was first married. My husband is much more liberal in his political ideas than I am. When we first married (he's my second husband) we were more in sync politically than we are now. I guess I understand the Gallup poll conclusions but I don't think I fit in there.

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I don't think getting married causes people to become conservative. I think people who are conservative and religious may feel more pressure to get married, as well as pressure not to divorce if the marriage has problems.

Mr. Turquoise and I have been married 20+ years and are liberal agnostics.

We did go back to church briefly when the kids were little, but really part of the reason was to make the grandparents happy. I realized I couldn't teach my children to believe in something I didn't fully believe myself. I talk to them about why I believe the things I do, and encourage them to think for themselves.

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I'm married and a democrat. My spouse started off as a republican when we married. But the craptastic governor we had along with that double dose of George W. brought him over to my side. :)

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I can only theorize here. I think many people do go back to their roots when they start their own families. You try new things as a single, "freed" from parental supervision. When you marry and have kids, you settle back into the pattern your parents set, and your lifestyles change in accordance. Maybe there's something about having kids that has people mimicking their parents in the end?

Funny you should say this, I was watchig Mormons in America last night and one of the woman stated this almost word for word. When she was single and young she moved away from the church and started experimenting with her thinking and her way of life. Once she met her husband and started a family, she immediately went back to the church. She said it felt safe and familiar. She knew her children would be loved and looked after by the members. That was more important to her at that point in her life than the questions she has regarding the Dogma of her faith.

As for politics....I have always been a Democrat, Mr Cook has always been a republican. Getting married to eachother in no way changed our political views, although it does make for some great discussion over dinner :)

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However, the option that marriage changes people's political leanings is an intriguing one....

My husband (a scientist) was a Christian (not fundie, but maybe close to fundie lite about some stuff) Republican when we got married. After a few years, he started to realize that he had two different standards, one for science and one for faith, and that he was kind of being a hypocrite because of that. His faith fell apart and he started to examine other things in his life about which he wasn't being logically consistent. And after years of being with his Democrat wife, he too became more liberal (because he realized it was a more logically consistent position on most issues, plus he was getting RULL PISSED at the Republican anti-science attitude). So it can definitely go the other way!

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Funny you should say this, I was watchig Mormons in America last night and one of the woman stated this almost word for word. When she was single and young she moved away from the church and started experimenting with her thinking and her way of life. Once she met her husband and started a family, she immediately went back to the church. She said it felt safe and familiar. She knew her children would be loved and looked after by the members. That was more important to her at that point in her life than the questions she has regarding the Dogma of her faith.

I was thinking something along those lines myself, that we tend to gravitate to what we were raised with once we become parents ourselves. It's scary to be first time parents, so if you had a happy childhood, wouldn't it be logical for you to 'go back' to the familiar? However, few on this thread seem to share that experience and I don't know if the sampling is skewed or if that theory is just untrue.

My husband have spoken of returning to the church after we have kids because he grew with the church and he want to replicate it for our children. If he's willing to do that, I wonder if he'll turn in his more conservative parents in other ways. I speculate that having kids may force me to rethink my stances on issues like porn, violence in the media, and education. I wonder if I'll be more conservative on those things because it's my kids that I'm protecting now, not some abstract theory.

Re: singles being immature. I've always interpreted that not as meaning singles are irresponsible but that singles are more focused on self-development. Having kids, and even getting married means you have to make personal and professional compromises because your kids and husbands' needs may take priority. Not all singles are carefree, and not all marrieds/parents are responsible. However, you have that built-in responsibility when you have a family.

Before I married, I had my own habits and goals and I was free to indulge in my career wherever it took me. With marriage, I've had to compromise many aspects of my life. I don't think I was irresponsible as a single. I just had no reason to think about anyone else. Now that I'm married, I have to think of my husband too. It's a different type of living.

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Getting married and having a daughter has certainly not made me change my liberal, atheist views. I am, however, considering starting taking her to a Universal Unitarian "church" for the community aspect. So long as it truly does turn out not to be pushing the idea of a god but is instead focused on love and morality and our connections to other people. I don't think I could get my husband to go with us, though, even though there was more religion (but still not that much) in his own background than in mine.

I just keep getting more and more liberal, mostly due to the fact that I keep going back to school at liberal institutions. Not that the institutions are trying to indoctrinate me, as conservatives would say. But that I keep being introduced to new perspectives to consider problems from -- perspectives different from my own experiences. I think truly considering the world others' perspectives is extremely liberalizing.

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How is having less responsibilities immature? That makes no sense. And I have had to balance my career with caring for elderly relatives, so just because you are single and have no children, it doesn't mean that you don't have family responsibilities.

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There is nothing immature about being single. Maturity refers to a way you go about making decisions, and really doesn't have anything to do with who you're supposed to be making decisions for.

Adults are adults. Don't we criticize fundies for this very logical fallacy?

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I would say I have gotten more liberal since being married. I have always been a liberal person, but as I have aged, I guess I have felt more like taking up "the cause" so to speak. I would say my husband has probably also gotten more liberal. He doesn't vote, but he does tend towards more of a liberal view point. On the things he was more right-leaning, after talking some sense into him, he realized how fucked up it was and conceded that yes, the liberal idea made more sense. I know I personally have become more outspoken on different topics since I've had kids, as well.

I have wanted to go back to church, though not the church of my childhood. I was raised Catholic until I denounced my faith at 15 and started following a pagan path. There is a UU church I've been wanting to go to for years, but it was a good 30-45 min. drive depending on traffic from where we used to live. It's now about 10 min. away, so if we ever get life settled here in the new place, I hope to start taking the kids. They have a really negative view of church because of me, and I don't want them to be that way. We are raising them to be free thinkers and to pick the faith that suits them the best when they have the capacity to do so. Our local UU church does a good job in exposing the good aspects of different faiths, and I do think that would be good for the kids. That being said, my oldest is 12, so it's not like this was an instant change, though it's probably been about 7-8 years since I found out about the local UU church.

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I'm single. I have a disabled mother and 5 cats that I'm solely financially supporting, in addition to keeping a roof over my own head. Someone tell me again how I have less responsibilities.

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