Love and politics: should they be kept apart?

couple having dinner

There are several elements that the majority of EliteSingles members consider when they search for a partner. Chemistry, compatibility and a shared lifestyle can all help make a match. But how specific do these matches need to be? Do partners need to share all views, even on personal matters such as political belief?

Our latest survey polled 503 EliteSingles members from six different countries to find some answers* – and we discovered what people really think about mixing love and politics.

The politics of the first date:

It’s a commonly held belief that polite people don’t talk about politics.1 However, in New Zealand, political chat is on a lot of people’s minds: with the General Election looming, buzz from the Beehive is dominating the media! So what happens when the topic du jour runs afoul of dating etiquette?

If you are one of our global EliteSingles members then you might just get away with it. The survey as a whole voted in favour of letting love and politics combine. In fact, 64% of our respondents would tolerate chat about political beliefs on the first date. However, the Kiwi respondents were not so lenient. Nearly half of us (49%) would try and avoid the subject at an initial meeting.

Salient statistic: While more than half of people would put up with mixing love and politics; singles from all areas balk at the idea of actually grilling someone about politics on the first date. Just 17% of global respondents and 11% of those from New Zealand would want to be the one to bring up state affairs that early on.

Love and politics when choosing a mate:

Of course, we Kiwis are usually a pretty chatty, friendly bunch.2 Perhaps that’s why we overcome this initial reticence a bit quicker than the rest of the world. Indeed, a whopping 67% of us would want to suss out a date’s political beliefs as soon as ‘’a few dates’’ had gone by. With EliteSingles members worldwide, that figure is only 57%.

Let’s say that the first date went well. You managed to avoid all chat about Key and Cunliffe and snagged a second date. And a third. Pretty soon, you realise that this is a relationship that is going somewhere and so you have the big politics conversation. What happens then if you disagree? Do you take your partner’s political beliefs into account?

For most the answer is a no – within reason. 47% of New Zealand members think it does not matter where a partner falls on the political spectrum. Furthermore, 45% of Kiwi singles only foresee a problem if a partner’s political leanings are ‘’completely contradictory to [their] own.‘’ In fact, only 7% of us insist that a partner have a ”similar outlook.”

Salient statistic: Unlike the Kiwis, 14% of our members around the world demanded that a love interest match their political beliefs. New Zealanders, then, are comparatively easy-going.

Why politicians just don’t rate:

In fact, the only Kiwis who might have trouble mixing love and politics are the actual politicians! Unfortunately for the denizens of the Beehive, most Kiwi singles just don’t swoon for campaign slogans and sigh at the thought of cabinet reshuffles. Indeed, 64% of NZ respondents (and 59% worldwide) would refuse to date a politician.

Why do we give the powers that be such short shrift? Perhaps it has to with the traits that we stereotypically associate with politicians. 60% of Kiwis picked ‘’dishonesty’’ as the most off putting ‘’politician personality trait,’’ with ‘’narcissism’’ getting 28% of the vote and 11% choosing ‘’self-interest.’’ As one member declared, politicians make bad partners as ’’they never keep their word’’ while another believes that they are ‘’liars, thiefs [sic], cheats – not my type.’’ Perhaps the most damning statement however was just a single word: ‘’Boring.’’

And yet it is not all bad news for the suits down in Wellington. After all, there are still 36% of Kiwi respondents who find politicians alluring, citing such reasons as ‘’Good value debate, good conversationalist’’ and ‘’they are usually driven, confident and more often than not financially stable.’’

Salient statistic: Of all of NZ’s MPs, Louisa Wall was picked by our Kiwi members as the most attractive. Congratulations, Louisa!

In the end it seems that, for most New Zealanders, political leanings do not dictate compatibility. Of course, we may have certain preferences but, ultimately, do we think that love and politics can coexist? The vote says yes.

Ready to find your compatible Kiwi? Join EliteSingles today. Just click the banner to register.

EliteSingles editorial August 2014

Would you date someone who’s poltics differed from your own? Leave a comment below or write to us at [email protected]

* Percentages based on a survey of 503 EliteSingles members from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and South Africa. Statistics may not equal 100% due to rounding and multiple choice answers.


1 Ally Batista, writing for Elite Daily, 2012. The Things You Should Never Talk About

2 100% Pure New Zealand: The New Zealand People

About the author: Sophie Watson

See more articles written by Sophie Watson