Are Conservatives Happier than Liberals? An In-Depth Look

These days it seems like everyone has an opinion on politics. More often than not, those opinions tend to be divided. But do the opposing political ideologies actually have an effect on individual happiness? Are conservatives happier than liberals? That’s the question we’ll be diving into in this article.

The Political Divide and Happiness

In the United States, it is no secret that contemporary society is often divided on the basis of political beliefs. Generally speaking, conservatives advocate for smaller government, traditional values, and greater autonomy for individuals as well as businesses. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to call for larger government roles in various aspects of society, including areas of social welfare and public works projects.

With such disparate views on the role of government and other key issues, it is interesting to see how these views affect individuals’ lives and happiness. The research that has been conducted on the subject has painted two very different pictures.

Research on Conservative and Liberal Happiness

One of the most widely-cited studies on the subject of political ideologies and happiness was conducted by the University of Chicago. In this study, researchers found that conservatives were, overall, significantly happier than liberals.

Specifically, the researchers found that conservatives reported being 10 percentage points happier than liberals. They also found that conservatives were more likely to report being in good health, financially secure, and overall satisfied with life.

Additional research has corroborated these findings. In a study conducted by the University of California Berkeley, researchers noted that conservatives reported higher levels of life satisfaction than liberals. Similarly, a study conducted by Stanford University found that conservatives were more likely to report feelings of happiness and well-being than their liberal counterparts.

What Makes Conservatives Happier?

So, why are conservatives happier than liberals? While many factors could be at play, it is likely that the differences in views on government play a role. As mentioned, conservatives tend to believe that more autonomy and fewer government interventions would lead to a better quality of life.

With this view, individuals can take personal responsibility for their own lives and happiness. This could lead to a deeper satisfaction with one’s life and happiness, as those individuals that succeed in their own lives see tangible and immediate results, while those that do not win out on government programs do not.

On the other hand, liberals often favor government interventions, believing that government must step in and help protect citizens from exploitation and help even out the playing field. This view, while noble, often creates a sense of dependency on others and a lack of control over one’s own life. Seeing no personal successes and no tangible rewards for their efforts may make them feel helpless and unhappy.

At the end of the day, politics does appear to play a role in individual happiness. Conservative individuals report higher levels of happiness than their liberal counterparts, likely due to the differences in political beliefs that shape their ideological views on government and personal responsibility. Taking control of one’s life can help bring independence and satisfaction, while relying on government assistance can lead to a sense of helplessness and unhappiness.

Therefore, it is generally safe to conclude that conservatives are happier than liberals. Of course, there are always exceptions and it is important to remember that individual happiness is about so much more than politics.

In any case, the lasting effects of political beliefs on one’s self-reported happiness is an interesting subject and one that is worth digging deeper into.