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What political and religious issues are your dating deal breakers?

New research explores dating deal breakers in the age of President Donald Trump.

There are numerous dating apps for Trump supporters. Jeremiah Cummings, a 40-year-old man from Colorado Springs, Colo., is on the “Righter” app.
There are numerous dating apps for Donald Trump supporters. Jeremiah Cummings, a 40-year-old man from Colorado Springs, Colo., is on the “Righter” app.
Photo illustration by Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Religion plays less of a role in Americans’ dating decisions than President Donald Trump, according to a new survey on politics and relationships.

While nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (63%) said they wouldn’t consider dating someone with different feelings about the president, only 24% say the same about dating someone with different beliefs about the existence of God.

“Religion is obviously important. But I was actually surprised at its lack of importance in many cases,” said Daniel A. Cox, co-author of the American Perspectives Survey, which was released Thursday.

White evangelical Protestants are the only faith group featured in the survey in which a majority (55%) consider differing beliefs about God to be a relationship deal breaker. Black Protestants (38%), Catholics (20%), white mainline Protestants (20%) and non-Christian believers (13%) are all considerably more laid back about about the potential for faith-related conflicts.

“There was an openness that sort of surprised me,” said Cox, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Younger adults appeared to be even more open to diverse beliefs about God than their elders. Forty-three percent of white evangelical Protestants under age 50 describe conflict over God as a dating deal breaker, compared to 62% of older members of their faith group.

The American Perspectives Survey was inspired by an observed rise in politics-related talk on dating apps, as well as the emergence of apps that cater to a specific group of voters, like Trump supporters, Cox said. Researchers wanted to determine to what extent political interests affect dating decisions.

What they found is that Americans are more willing to date across lines of political difference than you might have guessed after seeing the data on Trump.

Only around 1 in 3 U.S. adults (31%) say political views are one of their top considerations when deciding whether to date someone. Having similar views on having children and smoking mattered more.

“For most Americans, sharing the same political views as a prospective date is not all that important relative to other personal characteristics,” the survey reported.

Just as there are very few single-issue voters, there are few U.S. adults who feel so strongly about a single political issue that they wouldn’t date someone who disagreed with them about it, the survey showed.

Overall, fewer than 1 in 4 U.S. adults said it would be “impossible” to date someone who doesn’t share their views on abortion (24%), religious freedom (20%), LGBTQ rights (19%), gun control (16%) or climate change (15%).

However, certain groups of Americans do worry more about political conflict in their relationships than others.

For example, 38% of Republican woman wouldn’t date someone who disagreed with them about abortion, compared to 27% of Democratic women.

Almost half of gay and lesbian adults (45%) say it would be impossible to date someone with a different opinion about LGBTQ rights.

Conflict over religious freedom was a bigger deal for white evangelical Protestants, Republicans and non-Christian people of faith than other adults. Thirty-five percent of white evangelicals say it would be “impossible” to date someone with a different view on this issue than them, compared to 12% of Catholics and 17% of white mainline Protestants.

Although Americans were more open to date across lines of political and religious difference than Cox expected, he still doesn’t envy those who are trying to find love amid rising polarization.

“This is an interesting time,” he said.