Amanda Marcotte says thus:

I think Goodman actually happened on a couple that’s a great illustration of another, more real phenomenon, which is the impact marriage has on women’s voting patterns. We know that married women are far more conservative voters than unmarried women, and we also know that single men are more conservative generally than single women. One part of this, therefore, might be that in the battle over whose values are going to “win” in a relationship, men tend to dominate and that women are adopting their husbands’ political views alongside taking their husbands’ names. The woman Goodman profiles openly admits that her husband’s views have persuaded her over to the dark side. Since women her age aren’t liberals who married libertarians, I question using her as an example of anything typical to young voters today, much less young female voters who we can still say confidently will turn out in greater numbers at the polls than young men their age.

I was actually thinking about the bolded part the other day. It’s commonly known that married women – and mothers in marriages – tend to be more conservative than single women. It’s hard, however, to tease out why. Some of it would be self-selection, conservative women being more likely to marry and all. There is also the conservatism that more generally occurs with marriage and family, the change of worldview and all that. There are people like my sister-in-law who start attending church when they have kids and religiosity coincides with conservatism.

But I think that there is also what Marcotte herself is observing. It’s something I have noticed in my peers. More have shifted to the left, but those who have shifted to the right are Julianne (who is single) and women who have married more conservative men. My ex-roommate’s wife went from apolitical to his liberalish political preferences almost immediately. I can only think of one case, really, where there as a husband interest piqued or whose politics shifted due to that of his wife.

The real way to test it, though, is to look at what happens when a liberal man marries a conservative woman. Who typically “wins” when there is a winner? If it’s the man, then you’ve really made your case since that accounts for most variables.

In the Himmelreich-Truman household, it’s been… interesting. We were both right of center when we met (indeed, we met through a mutual friend who is a Republican activist), though not necessarily for the same reasons. I am a bit wonky and she is more of an intuitive voter. Over time, we’ve both moved at least somewhat to the left, though there again moving for somewhat different reasons (excluding the gay marriage factor, which we both adamantly support and which is becoming much more of a forefront issue). It may not be a coincidence that we are both looking at the real possibility of not voting for the GOP nominee for the first time in over a decade (well, ever for her – I voted for Clinton).

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4 Responses to Politics & Marriage

  1. stone says:

    Married women tend to be older, and people get more conservative as they get older. I know I’m more conservative now than I was when I met my husband. I haven’t switched parties, though, I’m not that crazy.

  2. SFG says:

    Gay marriage? Why do you guys care? I understand you’re both slightly outcast-y nerdy types so some sympathy for gays is natural, but I’d be more worried about the economy. You’ve got a child on the way.

    BTW, conservatism makes a lot more sense when you’re worried about having your kids exposed to sex and violence on TV and being mugged, etc.

  3. trumwill says:

    SFG, I understand you’re both slightly outcast-y nerdy types so some sympathy for gays is natural, but I’d be more worried about the economy.

    Voting on the economy assumes a degree of difference in quality that I’m presently indifferent about. Not that there aren’t different trajectories involved, just that one does not seem increasingly better than the other (for us, or for society in general).

  4. trumwill says:


    Yeah, some of it is getting older, I would assume. Some of my Republican-leaning friends think that that’s what will keep the GOP relevant in years to come. I’m not sure how true that is, though. I’m not sure that my generation is going to end up following the same pattern (if anything, I know more people that are getting more liberal – or at least anti-Republican – as they get older). I could be wrong about that.

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