Democrats say their well-being is higher than Republicans' and Independents', but the well-being of Republicans is actually the highest of them all, according to a new Gallup study.
The results are based on the responses to six measures of well-being, including life evaluation, emotional health, health behaviors, physical health, work environment and basic access. Four-hundred thousand people answered questions for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Among the findings:
- Republicans scored higher than Democrats on five of the six measures, including: emotional health, health behaviors, physical health, work environment and basic access. However, Democrats scored slightly higher on the "life evaluation" measure.
- Republicans scored higher on all six measures of well-being than Independents.
- Democrats scored higher than Independents on four of the six measures of well-being: emotional health, health behaviors, basic access and life evaluation. However, Independents scored higher than Democrats on the physical health and work environment measures of well-being.
Even after the researchers took into account other influencing factors like race, age, location in the country, marital and child status and socioeconomic status, they found that the differences were still there, though "on a muted basis," according to the report.
The Gallup researchers speculated that Republicans may have a higher general well-being score than the Democrats and Independents because they tend to be more religious than the other two affiliations.
Republicans are more religious in general than independents or Democrats, and Gallup has shown in previous analyses that religiosity has a significantly positive relationship to well-being.
In 2009, a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that Democrats are more likely to report poor health than Republicans.
The study, conducted by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, included data from the General Social Surveys from 1972 to 2006. The researchers found that the likelihood of Republicans reporting poor health was 26 percent lower than Democrats, while the likelihood of Republicans smoking was 15 percent lower than Democrats.