Conservatives vs Liberals: Who is Happier?

Our political views can create a lot of division between those who support conservative and liberal views. Not surprisingly, we would like to confirm that our point of view is superior by stating that conservative or liberals are happier. Now we just need to know what science has to say about this. 

Quick Overview of “Who is Happier” Studies 

If you support conservative political views, you may be happy to learn that according to Pew Research Center you are on average happier than your liberal compatriots. 

If you support liberal political views, you may be happy to learn that the above statement might not necessarily constitute a hard science, as there is still a lot of room to debate whether or not your political opponents are actually happier than you are. 

Why Conservatives Are Happier

It is said that predominantly conservative countries are better than their liberal counterpart in things like having:

  • More stable marriages
  • Less divorced or never married parents  
  • Overall more family stability

All these factors are VERY important when it comes to raising happy families and being happy overall, as human connections play a major role on our overall sense of well-being. This is even more true so as one of the most important bonds is with our families.  

Moreover, Pew Research Center reports that conservatives are overall happier than liberal: 

ConservativesLiberals
Very happy37%25%
Happy51%52%
Not Happy9%20%

The Pew Research Center further accounted for the effect of age, gender, marital status, education level, income, life priorities, health, church attendance, and other variables.

The above statement is true for conservative Americans, Canadians, and Europeans, all of whom report feeling happier than their liberal compatriots.

Why Liberals Are Happier

However, the validity of the above study is confronted by new research done by Science whereas authors suggest that conservatives have a tendency to “self-enhance” their responses in an unrealistic light. Indeed, the “conservatives are happier” study was done using a phone questionnaire and not in a laboratory setting using, for example, fMRI, saliva test, random time happiness testing, or any other popular way to measure happiness. 

As such, we have to trust what people are saying is true, and when it comes to conservatives they tend to put an extra positive spin on their lives. In other words, they report being happier than they really are.

So Who is Happier: Conservatives or Liberals?

Unfortunately, it may still be premature to say whether conservatives are happier than liberals or the other way around. Indeed, while original findings suggest that conservatives are happier than liberals, there are many variables like self-enhancement, which we need to account for before we can give a final answer with certainty. “Self-enhancement” may be one of such variables. Perhaps there are others. 

Further research is needed to determine whether conservatives are indeed happier than liberals (or another way around!), especially by doing one or more tests that measure how people feel rather than what they say—attention to aspiring students!

Source:

Pew Research Center states that conservatives are happier than liberals >

https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2010/10/Republicans-Happiness.pdf

Science says that conservatives tend to self-enhance their responses > https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1260817

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the founder, main author, and Chief Happiness Officer at Optimal Happiness. He is also the author of Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a revolutionary book about becoming the happiest version we can be. After studying this topic for over 8 years Roman believes that everyone can reach their happiest potential, challenging people to reach these highs. Are you ready to accept this challenge?

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