Political Polarization: Should Republicans and Democrats avoid intermarriage?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Political Polarization
James Carville and Mary Matalin at Tulane University

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE COUPLE? If you’re a loyal Republican, you may know long-time GOP consultant Mary Matalin and may guess that she’s married to the gentleman in the suit and tie. If you’re a Democrat, you may recognize “the Ragin’ Cajun,” James Carville, who actually is Matalin’s long-time spouse. They appeared together at Tulane University with other speakers.

How would you feel if your son or daughter (or another close family member) married a liberal Democrat? How about a Tea Party Republican? Would you be happy either way, or would one of these choices make you miserable?

Politics, religion, and family often don’t mix. “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people,” said the sage Charles Schulz, speaking through Linus, “religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

If so, would it be better if Republicans and Democrats just avoided marrying one another?

For some Americans, the answer is yes, according to Pew’s just-released report on political polarization.

Three of ten (30%) consistently conservative Republicans said they would be unhappy if a Democrat married an immediate family member. And, 15% of those who are mostly conservative feel the same way.

Almost one quarter (23%) of consistently liberal Democrats would be unhappy if a Republican married an immediate family member, with an additional 8% of those who are mostly liberal feeling the same way.

Despite these antipathies, the majority of Democrats and Republicans report that it wouldn’t make them unhappy if a close family member married someone of the opposite political persuasion.

Should Republicans and Democrats avoid intermarriage?

How would you feel if a close family member married a Republican—or a Democrat?

Are there considerations other than political views that matter more?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Series Navigation<< Political Polarization: Walkable Communities versus More Room?Political Polarization: Where are you headed? San Mateo or Fort Worth? >>


  1. MiddleGround says

    I wouldn’t be bothered specifically by an individual’s political party association. I have met and gotten along with many people from all over the political spectrum, and I find that my ability to get along with them depends more on their personality, demeanor and attitude than it does on their political beliefs.

    I would be far more concerned if I couldn’t get along with a family member’s spouse due to a personality conflict than if we didn’t agree on politics.

    Granted, I suspect if a family member married across party lines and chose an individual detailed in the survey above (regarding unhappiness due to political intermarriage), I might have trouble seeing eye to eye with them.