Dating dilemmas: Does politics, religion, race or money matter?

August 21, 2013, 11:48 AM UTC

Dating in the States is all about keeping to The Rules  – knowing how long to wait between calling, dressing appropriately, knowing where to meet and any no-go conversation topics – dilemmas that have fuelled decades of romantic comedy movies, books and TV shows.

Yet some rules not covered in the average chick flick are more complex. Whether you would date someone with a different political or religious orientation, for instance. Or if a potential partner’s race matters. Or if you would consider a relationship with someone richer or poorer than yourself.

With 52% of the population saying that couples with similar views are more likely to stay together, it’s no surprise that many of Americans find a difference in backgrounds or outlook can be a dating turn-off.

Religion could be a deal breaker

17% of Americans would not date someone of a different race. 16% said they would not date someone who supported a different political party, while for 19% a different religious background would be reason enough not to date someone.

Money matters less than worldview, as 10% would not date someone who earned less than them, and just 5% said they would not date someone earning more money.

The majority of Americans are open to dating someone of any religious and political orientation, race and income. 70% would date someone of a different race, 66% a supporter of a different political party and 67% if they were of a different religion.

Age and area impact attitude to race

Attitudes to dating someone of a different race vary according to an American’s gender, age and even the region in which they live. It was only until 1967 that it became legal in all parts of the US to marry someone of a different race – now it is estimated there are 1.5 million interracial marriages in the US.

The generational divide shows in attitudes to race in dating. While 78% of 18 to 34 year olds say they would date someone of a different race, this was true for 66% of people aged 55 and over.

Among Americans living in the South, 23% would not date someone of a different race, compared with 9% of people living in the West, 14% in the Northeast and 16% in the Midwest.

Politics of dating

Political background only matters slightly less to Americans – 16% of the population says they wouldn’t date someone if they supported a different political party. The most partisan among us include 18-34 year olds, among whom 18% would not date someone with different political views.

The Midwest are more likely to think politics don’t matter in dating, as just 10% of people living in the region would be put off dating someone from another political party.

A potential partner’s religion could be a deal breaker for 19% of the population, who say they would not date someone with a different religion or religious background. 15% of people aged 55 and over said they wouldn’t consider dating someone of a different religion, and 12% of those living in the Northeast.

Money matters

While one in ten Americans say they wouldn’t date someone with less money than them, a partner having more money is less of a problem – just 5% of Americans say they wouldn’t date someone who earned more than them.

Women and lower earners tend to be more easily put off by money matters. 15% of women and 11% of those earning less than $40,000 in a year would refuse o date someone who made less than them. 6% of men and 5% of women say they wouldn’t consider dating someone with more money.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus research services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

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Image: Getty