While political animosity and tension between conservatives and liberals may seem high, each group is not miserable. According to several recent studies, conservatives are happier than liberals, and as economic inequality has increased over the last quarter century, the happiness gap has widened. PBS NewsHour aired a report Friday examining this development by interviewing employees of the right-leaning think tank the American Enterprise Institute, as well as members of Occupy DC, to gauge the happiness of individuals within each group:
Jaime Napier of Yale University has studied the divide, and tells the NewsHour that she believes conservatives are happier than liberals because they think there is equality of opportunity in America.
“One of the biggest correlates with happiness in our surveys was the belief of a meritocracy, which is the belief that anybody who works hard can make it,” Napier tells PBS. “That was the biggest predictor of happiness. That was also one of the biggest predictors of political ideology. So, the conservatives were much higher on these meritocratic beliefs than liberals were.”
Occupy DC protesters tell PBS that the system is unfair and opportunities are not equal these days.
In addition to one’s optimism of opportunity and political ideology, Napier’s studies accounted that happiness is boosted by religion, marriage , education, people who lived urban vs. rural and several other factors.
What role do you think one’s happiness plays in their political ideology?
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