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College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture–Research & Development

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Economics & Business - Happiness

Even when their political party is not in the White House, Republicans are happier than Democrats, according to a new study by University of Maine economists examining the effects of political affiliation on happiness.

In addition, during a Democratic presidential administration, members of both parties report happiness, supporting earlier evidence that people are happier when their nations are governed from the left, the researchers say.

What the research failed to find was compelling evidence that Americans are happier when their own political party is in power.

Using 34 years of data from the U.S. General Social Survey, UMaine economists Todd Gabe and Bernardita Silva looked at the connections among happiness, a person’s political party and the political affiliation of the U.S. president. They analyzed data on more than 38,000 Americans from 1972 to 2006 and found the majority of Republicans reported being “very happy,” no matter which political party was in power, when asked: Taking all things together, how would you say things are these days? Would you say you’re very happy, pretty happy or not too happy?

The research findings were published in the journal Applied Economics Letters.

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College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture--Research & Development
5782 Winslow Hall, Room 101
Orono, Maine 04469-5782
Phone: 207-581-3228 | Fax: 207-581-3207E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System