Political talk is often seen as one of those no-go subjects; a taboo topic that shouldn’t be raised in polite company, (particularly not with someone you’ve just begun dating!). But is this valid? Is it a subject that should be raised? Are people’s political values important for partner choice?
We wanted to find out. Politicians themselves may not be the most attractive of partners (just 40% of respondents said they liked the idea of dating one), but actually our members showed they were interested in and tolerant of their date’s political views – even when they first meet.
Political opinions and attraction
Of course, many factors influence people’s search for the right partner. Chemistry between your personalities, similarity in relationship goals and physical attraction without doubt dictate what may become your ‘perfect match‘. Being like-minded no doubt helps couples live harmoniously, but how should this similarity extend to things like political opinion?
In one part of our latest member survey, respondents were asked to rank the things they prioritise when looking for a partner, from ‘Vital’ to ‘Unimportant’. Compared to criteria like a partner’s sense of humour, job or even taste in food, Irish singles are unperturbed by their date’s political opinion, ranking it among the least important (ahead only of religion and sportiness).
Likewise, with just 1 in 4 respondents saying that political views are particularly ‘important’ for attraction, it seems Irish singles are willing to tolerate some political differences if it means finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Talking politics on a first date?
It’s commonly said that speaking about personal issues like politics is a no-go for a first date. But what do our members think?
What was made clear in the survey was that if chatting politics means you can skip topics like money, marriage or an ex, Irish singles are enthusiastic. 65% of respondents said they saw no problem broaching big topics when they first meet, 27% specified a first date as the best time to do so, and just 9% chose politics as the number one topic to avoid. For Irish singles it seems clear that they are tolerant of their date’s views but wary to let their opinions influence their judgement too heavily.
Shared life, shared values?
Let’s assume your first date was a success, you’ve talked over the finer points of foreign policy and there seems to be a promising future between you. Is it important for the long-term if your opinions really clash?
Our survey suggests that men might be the more tolerant sex if their partner was to hold conflicting political views: while 34% of women said they would be happy if they didn’t see eye-to-eye, as many as 54% of men said they wouldn’t consider it a problem, even if their partner was of an entirely different disposition.
Would you date a politician?
Singles may seem happy to accept certain political arguments if their partner fits in other areas, but the thought of dating a politician has significantly less appeal. Only 38% of female respondents and 45% of men fancy the prospect of a political partner. Why?
Much can be explained by politicians’ stereotypes. 60% of those polled admitted that politicians’ reputation for dishonesty would put them off, while others would be concerned about time and attention at home. As one Irish member put it, “his job would dominate everything and leave little time for us”.
But it may not be all bad for the legislators in Dublin. There are some attracted to the idea, with the “challenging conversation” and “sense of fairness and commitment” cited as reasons they would make good partners. With men more happy to live with a politician that women, one reason noted was that a career-focused, time-pressured wife would be “more understanding of the demands of my own job”.
That singles are broadly tolerant of different opinions is relatively unsurprising. Though compatibility in personal values is an important part of long-term stability, it seems Irish singles see political disagreements as one area where healthy differences can exist.
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EliteSingles editorial, September 2014.
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