In our research paper, we try out 32 different ways to define marriage in the data.
Without getting too deep into the details, there’s a trade-off in how we define marriage here.
Second, 55 percent of married couples are Democratic-only or Republican-only, which raises a question: Is that a big number or a small number?
In other words, is there more or less partisan intermarriage than we should expect? We can compare interparty marriages to interracial marriages.
Sure, most people are not very political, but among those who are, partisanship seems to be affecting nonpolitical realms of their lives. Catalist maintains a continuously updated database containing records of personal, political and commercial data for nearly all American adults.
That phenomenon motivated a colleague and me to gather data about mixed-partisan marriages. We focused on registered voters in the 30 states that track voters’ party affiliation.
Evidence abounds that Democrats and Republicans really do not like each other.
Researchers have found that they avoid dating one another, desire not to live near one another and disapprove of the idea that their offspring would marry someone outside their party (see here, here, here). More Politics To answer these questions, I teamed up with Yair Ghitza, chief scientist at Catalist, a prominent political data firm that sells data to left-of-center campaigns and interest groups, and also to academics like me who use the data for scholarly research.
Using voter registration data, we can do this in three states, Florida, Louisiana and North Carolina, where public voter files list everyone by their party affiliation and their racial identity.
In those states, 11 percent of married couples are in Democratic-Republican households.
We were curious: How many Americans are married to someone of the other party? For simplicity, we mostly focused on male-female partners who live at the same address, share a last name, are within 15 years of age (sorry, Donald and Melania Trump), and are the oldest such pair in the household.