Features

Another worry for Democrats

National

Issue: "Pryor commitment," Sept. 13, 2003

Politicans are always hungry to earn the support of "swing voters," and Democrats have a corner on swinging voters-swinging singles, that is. But a new poll suggests that might cost them among members of another potent voting bloc. Just as there is a political gap between the red states of middle America and the blue states of the big cities, an even bigger gap has opened between Americans who are married and those who aren't.

A new Gallup Poll has found that the difference between the two estates is deeper than mere political party affiliation. By measuring people's attitudes toward various moral issues, the study shows that married people are far more conservative when it comes to "family values" issues than people who are single, divorced, or living together.

A person's moral stance does indeed seem to be correlated with political ideology. Half of the Americans who are married consider themselves conservatives. Among Americans who have been divorced, the percentage of conservatives drops to 39 percent. Among those who are just shacking up, 27 percent are conservatives.

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When the political groupings are taken as a whole, the different ideologies generally practice what they preach: Only 4 percent of conservatives are living together, compared with 7 percent of the moderates and 11 percent of the liberals.

At any rate, evidence of a marriage gap suggests that "family values" remain a potent issue and that the "culture wars" are far from over.

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