This is likely to contribute to a more tempered political climate in battleground areas than we might first expect. Accounting for a voter’s state, age, gender, race and party, we see huge effects of household composition on voter turnout.
Partisans married to like-partisans voted at much higher rates than partisans married to independents or to members of the opposite party.
Sure, most people are not very political, but among those who are, partisanship seems to be affecting nonpolitical realms of their lives. Catalist maintains a continuously updated database containing records of personal, political and commercial data for nearly all American adults.
That phenomenon motivated a colleague and me to gather data about mixed-partisan marriages. We focused on registered voters in the 30 states that track voters’ party affiliation.
We also evaluate the degree of sorting through another exercise: Suppose that all of us choose partners from the pool of people who share our age and geographic location.
So, a 30-year-old New Yorker seeks a spouse from the pool of other 30-year-old New Yorkers.
It dominated credentials, it dominated race, it dominated gender.
So people were basically going out of their way to penalize the kid who happened to be active in the opposing party,” Iyengar says.
In fact, except in overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhoods (which tend to be African-American neighborhoods), close to half of households are not Democratic-only or Republican-only.For instance, if we include same-sex pairs and pairs with different last names, we are both more likely to count nonmarried people as married (e.g., 20-something platonic, same-sex roommates — not our population of interest) and also more likely to count as married those in less “traditional” marriages, who are in the population we care about. First, 30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair.How we define marriage affects the overall partisan composition of married couples (i.e., when we include less traditional couples, the population appears more Democratic), but the definitions do not much affect the key findings below. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are twice as many Democratic-Republican pairs in which the male partner, rather than the female partner, is the Republican.The main reason for the dramatic relationship with age is that younger voters are more inclined to register as independents than older voters are. As the chart shows, while the proportion of Democratic-independent and Republican-independent pairs shrinks from the youngest couples to the oldest couples, the proportion of Democratic-Republican pairs actually doubles — i.e., the purple band becomes bigger.
Fourth, we looked at the neighborhoods where couples live.
In comparison, only 6 percent of married couples are in any kind of interracial household.