Love and marriage go together . . . like a political party

I’d heard that people who had more children were more likely to be conservative. Indeed, I think I read in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything that this is a logical outgrowth of the fact that Dems are pro-choice, are more likely to limit the number of children they have, and are therefore voluntarily decreasing the Democratic demographic. Two USA Today articles, though, really spell out the difference between conservative value voters (usually Republicans) and liberal lifestyle voters (usually Democratic). The first is an article about how marriage and Republicanism march together:

House districts held by Republicans are full of married people. Democratic districts are stacked with people who have never married. This “marriage gap” could play a role in the Nov. 7 congressional elections. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

• Republicans control 49 of the 50 districts with the highest rates of married people.

•Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.

The same issue of USA Today looks at the political fertility gap, too:

Republican House members overwhelmingly come from districts that have high percentages of married people and lots of children, according to a USA TODAY analysis of 2005 Census Bureau data released last month.

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district.

Many Democrats represent areas that have many single people and relatively few children. Democratic districts that have large numbers of children tend to be predominantly Hispanic or, to a lesser extent, African-American.

There are opinions from experts in both articles explaining these phenomena and their effects on politics. I don’t know how much I need an expert. As I noted in my first paragraph, since abortion is often (not always, but often) a bright line between people who hew Left and those who hew Right, it’s easy to see that people who have more children are less likely to support abortion and correspondingly more likely to support Republicans. Likewise, marriage is still a statement of tradition — and often one connected with having children — so that too ties in with more conservative values. People who have children also tend to look longer down the line, rather than to immediate needs and emotions, and I think that too results in a right-ward lean.

Hat tip: JL. (I don’t know if you want your full name used, JL, but you know who you are, and you have my thanks.)

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  • Joseph Libson

    Woo Hoo!

    Endless fame is mine!

    Let the accolades commence. :)

  • Zhombre

    The DNC should immediately fund and implement a program to collect, store and safeguard DNA samples of currently registered and actively voting Democrats, as a form of “insurance policy” against future demographic extinction. At some point in the dystopic future, this DNA can be used to clone or in some scientific method yet to be devised “resurrect” these committed liberal voters. I would theorize they are predominently white, educated, urban and middle class; the African American and Hispanic varieties, as noted, have a higher birth rate, making preservation less an exigent issue, and are less “pure” examples of the liberal voter, evincing a predilection for going to church once a week and shopping at Wal-Mart, as well as enlisting in the military.

  • Anna

    Of the people I know, it’s pretty split. My brother-in-law (married with two kids) is VERY liberal (Al Gore’s biggest fan), while my brother and his wife with three kids are about as conservative/Republican as you can get. Singles I know, though, especially those who have never been married or have no children definitely tend to liberalism.

  • judyrose

    I’d be interested to know the age breakdown between the marrieds and the singles.

    Have you ever heard the expression, “A Republican is a Democrat who has something to loot?” I’ll address this from a purely economic point of view (because the social differences are a whole different story to me.) When people are young (unmarried/childless) the idea that government takes your hard earned money and gives it to somebody else seems fairly easy to swallow. After all, isn’t government supposed to help people? But once your work starts to amount to something, and you have a family to take care of, the idea that the government knows how to spend your money better than you do, and that your efforts should go to take care of somebody else’s family (at the expense of your own) starts to grate. So Democrats evolve into Republicans.

    I know this is a gross overgeneralization, and certainly not universally true, but I would think the age factor would add an interesting layer of understanding to these findings. I also think that marriage and children are one component, and reaching a higher level of financial achievement is another. They may both alter a Democrat’s perception about who should be controlling his money. Both usually occur as people get older.

    Now if we could only get the Republicans back on the program, and stop spending so much tax money on stuff the government has no business doing, we’d really have something!

  • Lulu

    Check out European demographics. As cultures become more hedonistic and expect to be taken care of by their governments, fertility drops. Children cramp upscale lifestyle, restaurants, vacation plans, spending money. I would say that the presence of families and children (in a part of the world in which women have a voice about whether they reproduce- hence not parts of the world in which women have no rights) is a sign of cultural health.

  • Bookworm

    On Judyrose’s point, wasn’t it Churchill who said “Never trust a young conservative or an old liberal?” If he didn’t, he should have. I’ve certainly become more conservative as I have more understanding about the world, and a driving need to provide something, both in terms of personal finances and world safety, for my children. The same is true for my inlaws, all of whom have lots of children. (They’re also Jewish people who, as I did, wised up after 9/11.)

  • Mary

    As a lifelong singleton and a proud member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, I’m an anomoly. Still, most of my liberal friends are (1) married, and (2) have children. My conservative friends are a mixed bag – married, single, divorced, kids, no kids.

    I go with the expression (paraphrased), “if you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you have no brain.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Two USA Today articles, though, really spell out the difference between conservative value voters (usually Republicans) and liberal lifestyle voters (usually Democratic). The first is an article about how marriage and Republicanism march together:

    Oh that just supports Rosie’s assertion that militant Christians are the same as militant Islamics. The latter outbreds Europe, and the former does it as well in America.

    oh wait, I don’t work for the Democrats, never mind. I got to stop thinking about propaganda points that Democrats can score.

    On Judyrose’s point, wasn’t it Churchill who said “Never trust a young conservative or an old liberal?” If he didn’t, he should have

    Mary has Churchill’s quote in more detail.

    But the gist is about the same.

  • erp

    Anna, it would be interesting to know if your liberal brother-in-law works in the public sector and the Republican one is self-employed or working in the private sector.


    This demographic advantage will probably be offset by the liberal domination of the public education, I mean, indoctrination system.

  • Ymarsakar

    re-education system. Look it up on google, if you can find the historical analysis on the effectiveness of propaganda,brainwashing, and re-education camps.