- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who are the happiest people in America?

Conservative Republicans are among the most joyous, according to a survey released yesterday by the Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press, which found that 47 percent of respondents who were both conservative and Republican said they were “very happy.”

The survey was specific. This isn’t just ho-hum happy. This is emphatically happy.

The group was eclipsed only by well-heeled Republicans with more than $150,000 in annual incomes — 52 percent were very happy — and people who attend church at least once a week, with incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Half of them also said they had a happy mind-set.

Nationwide, the overall happiness quotient was a “so-so” 34 percent, according to the survey, which annually plumbs the feelings of demographic groups. This time, 3,014 adults were polled from Oct. 5 to Nov. 6.

The poll suggests there may be something to popular observations of an “angry” Democratic Party; a distinct happiness gap is afoot.

The findings revealed that the Republican Party has an upbeat history: Republicans have been consistently happier than Democrats every year since the survey began in 1972, with up to a 17 percentage point lead. Republicans topped their rivals by 11 points even during the Carter and Clinton presidencies, according to Pew.

“The GOP happiness edge over Democrats has ebbed and flowed in a pattern that appears unrelated to which party is in political power,” the survey said, noting “a significant partisan gap.”

Twenty-eight percent of liberal Democrats were in the “very happy” group; the figure was 31 percent among conservative or moderate Democrats and 45 percent among moderate or liberal Republicans.

Good feelings don’t seem to hinge on money, either. Considering household income, “Republicans still have a significant edge: that is, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats; middle-income Republicans are happier than middle-income Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats,” the survey stated.

For example, 30 percent of Republicans who made less than $30,000 a year were very happy — compared with 19 percent of Democrats in that income bracket. Among those with annual incomes of more than $75,000, the figures were 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

The survey revealed other trends. “Married people are happier than unmarrieds. People who worship frequently are happier than those who don’t,” it stated.

Among married people, 43 percent were very happy, compared with 24 percent of those who were single.

Who is the unhappiest? Men who are ages 18 to 29 were at the bottom of the heap, with 26 percent saying they were very happy.

The survey, which has a margin of error of two percentage points, can be read online at https://people-press.org.

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