Left-wingers like to keep it in the family

February 10, 2016, 11:00 AM UTC

In both Britain and the US left-wingers are more likely to say they would be upset if their child married a right-winger than vice versa

At YouGov as well as measuring the ever-shifting political spectrum of voters, we try to analyse the deep-held and often subconscious tendencies that characterise voters from opposing ends of the political scale. In October we found that, contrary to the common conception that left-wingers are sanctimonious, people who identify as right-wing are in fact more likely to say they are, morally speaking, better than the average British person (47% compared to 39% of those on the left).

New YouGov research for the Times challlenges another political stereotype. If a guiding principle of the left is tolerance, you might expect left-wingers to be more casual about the political makeup of their families. But in fact on both sides of the Atlantic people who identify as Labour or Democrat are more likely to say they'd be upset if their son or daughter married a Conservative or Republican.

And despite the American political system going through an unprecendented era of partisan deadlock – bringing the federal government to a total shutdown in 2013 and preventing Barack Obama from achieving substantive reform in the last few years of his presidency – Americans from both the left and right are less likely than their British counterparts to say they'd be upset if a political outsider joined the family. 

Left-wingers are five points less partisan on this measure in the US than in Britain (23% of Democrats would be upset if their child brought home a Republican compared to 28% of Labour identifiers thinking about their child with a Conservative), while right-wingers are three points less partisan. The difference between left and right is roughly the same in Britain and the US, although slightly greater here (a 9% gap compared to 7% in the US).

See the full GB results

See the full US results

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