Don't listen to my cranky opinion, it's in the
New York Times
WHO is happier about life — liberals or conservatives? The answer might seem straightforward. After all, there is an entire academic literature in the social sciences dedicated to showing conservatives as naturally authoritarian, dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity, fearful of threat and loss, low in self-esteem and uncomfortable with complex modes of thinking. And it was the candidate Barack Obama in 2008 who infamously labeled blue-collar voters “bitter,” as they “cling to guns or religion.” Obviously, liberals must be happier, right?
Wrong. Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge. Many data sets show this. For example, the Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives. This pattern has persisted for decades. The question isn’t whether this is true, but why.
Professor Althouse hypothesises:
My first guess, without reading on in the article is that they mind their own business. They think taking care of their own work and family is enough, and liberals feel they must worry about how everyone else is doing.
This makes sense to us: if you're a liberal, your calling is to tell other people what to do, whether you do it or not. It's got to be frustrating when they just won't listen, particularly when you and everyone you talk to knows that there's just no doubt that you're right.
The study also reports:
Marriage and happiness go together. If two people are demographically the same but one is married and the other is not, the married person will be 18 percentage points more likely to say he or she is very happy than the unmarried person.
We're a bit dubious respecting that conclusion, since the data also shows that married men are 35% more likely to report that they enjoy spending the afternoon browsing through yarn shops, and 45% more likely to understand why the toilet seat has to be down.