Monday, October 18, 2010

Mainstream conservatives are the happiest

Everyone is going on about how catty Maureen Dowd has gotten, and how she must be really unhappy. It makes me wonder if liberal women are more miserable than others.

The General Social Survey asks respondent's about their general happiness, and it turns out that mainstream conservatives have the lowest rate of unhappiness, and the pattern is the same for both sexes:

Percent "not too happy"

Extremely conservative 14.5*
Conservative 9.8
Slightly conservative 10.2
Moderate 12.2*
Slightly Liberal 12.1*
Liberal 12.8*
Extremely liberal 17.7*

*significantly higher than conservatives 

Why this pattern?  Happiness depends heavily on personality; happy people might be drawn to conservatism. A good marriage and a good job both predict being happy. More conservatives might have these. And they might also get a boost from greater religiosity. Extreme conservatives, by contrast, might have more disagreeable personalities and might be more alienated from contemporary society.

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