The Science Is Settled: Conservatives Are Happier, Neater, and Smell Better, Too

We know that conservatives are happier people than liberals, but did you know the latest social science says we’re neater people and smell better, too? From the wonderful annals of social science:

A 2006 report from the Pew Research Center showed that 45% of conservative Republicans reported being very happy, as compared to 30% of liberal Democrats. According to the report, this “partisan happiness gap” had shown up in surveys every year since 1972.

What explains the happiness gap? Some scientists have argued that it can be attributed to personality differences between the two groups or different thinking styles–that conservatives are more likely to rationalize inequality. Others have suggested a link with marriage rates and religious identification–pointing out that conservatives are more likely to be married and to identify as religious, both of which have been linked with higher levels of happiness.

Then comes this news item, reported in The Week:

A new study from the American Journal of Political Science indicates that different political affiliations may actually correspond with different body odors.

The researchers, led by Brown University political scientist Rose McDermott, found that conservatives and liberals smell dissimilar. While the difference is small, it is apparently significant enough that we subconsciously prefer the scent of those who vote like we do. “It appears nature stacks the deck to make politically similar partners more attractive to each other in unconscious ways,” the researchers wrote.

Now, some picky person will say that this study does not say directly that conservatives smell better, but ax yourself a simple question: Does anyone ever say the phrase “smelly conservative”? No, but you do hear “smelly hippie” a lot, don’t you? Who cleans up after their rallies: Tea Partiers or Occupy Wall Street and Climate Marchers? There’s a reason left-wing gatherings slather around so much patchouli oil. Duh. As the story goes on to explain:

Other differences are more psychological: Conservatives will look at an unpleasant image 15 percent longer than liberals, and they’re also more likely to keep an organized dorm room in college. In fact, one study showed that conservatives are more generally conscientious. . .

I suspect we’re better looking, too. But anyway, the science is settled.

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