February 13, 2008

Happy Republicans

From the Washington Post by Eric Weiner  Why Republicans Are So Darn Happy

No single morsel of happiness data, though, is more intriguing than this: Republicans are happier than Democrats.

A 2006 Pew Research poll found that 45 percent of Republicans describe themselves as "very happy," compared with only 30 percent of Democrats (and 29 percent of independents). This is a sizable gap and a remarkably consistent one, too. Republicans have been happier than Democrats every year since the General Social Survey, conducted biannually by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, began asking about happiness in 1972.

Is it money? Power?  Ignorance? 

Basically, Republicans have in spades all the things that combine to make us happy. Church attendance is particularly crucial. People who attend religious services regularly are more likely to report being "very happy" than those who don't -- 43 percent vs. 26 percent (a happiness boost, by the way, that cuts across all the major religious denominations). In addition, Republicans are more likely to be married than Democrats, and married people are happier than singles.

Weiner says that some of the Democrats' pet policies, income equality and diversity, have little effect on our contentment.

The View of Alexandria looks at the Post article and writes
Republicans stress freedom and individual responsibility, which lead people to feel in control and take action that changes their lives for the better, while Democrats assign blame to institutions, which makes people feel powerless and discourages them from undertaking ameliorative courses of action.

The comments to his post are particularly interesting.

No one mentioned gratitude which to me is the single greatest predictor of happiness.  People who are grateful for what they have  and have been given are by far the happiest people.  Republicans generally are more sincerely grateful for the great blessing of being born American than are Democrats.

What's so interesting about the current race is the sense of hope that Senator Obama brings to the Democrats.  There's no denying that the palpable sense of joy Democrats feel when they contemplate the November election contrasts sharply with the gloom Republicans feel.  Whether that will change any of the underlying dynamics of happiness remains to be seen.

Posted by Jill Fallon at February 13, 2008 5:33 PM | Permalink