May 9th, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Why are conservatives happier than liberals?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Conservatives are happier than liberals.

A study published in the journal "Psychological Science" says it's because conservatives are better at rationalizing inequalities.

Regardless of someone's income, marital status or church attendance, people with right-wing ideologies report greater satisfaction with their lives than those with left-wing beliefs. Researchers found that conservatives also score highest when it comes to the ability to justify inequalities.

For example, a conservative might support the idea of a meritocracy – that if you work hard and perform well, you'll move up the economic ladder… and if you don't, you probably won't. But the study shows liberals tend to be troubled by this. Inequalities take a greater psychological toll on liberals, apparently because they can't rationalize away the gaps in society and thus end up more frustrated by them.

The study goes on to say that this research can be applied to areas other than economic inequalities. One example is that feminists may not be as happy in their marriages as more traditional women because they're frustrated with the division of domestic chores.

These latest results go along with a Pew poll from 2006. It found 47% of conservative Republicans described themselves as "very happy”, compared to only 28% of liberal Democrats who felt that way.

This, then, is our burnt offering for a rainy Friday.

Here’s my question to you: A new study says conservatives are happier than liberals. Why?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Erin writes:
Those of the so-called RIGHT way, whether it be political conservative or fundamentalist, have to say they’re happy – their whole rationale of being better than others is based on this very premise! Those who claim to know all the answers can't admit to having questions.

P. from Fort Myers, Florida writes:
Because liberals are always counting on the system to establish fairness, equity, and trust in government… in order to provide solutions to complex social and economic issues. Conservatives count on themselves. They do not rely on the system or the government to resolve problems. They create their own opportunities, they establish charitable causes, they focus on creating their own security and providing security for their families.

Rickie writes:
How is this relevant in the least? I would like to know who did the study and why they don't have better things to do. I could think of a lot of better things to do. CNN, I expect better out of you but perhaps I shouldn't. This doesn't prove nor help anything. Just trying to tick people off with nonsense. Give us news. Remember that is what you are supposed to be doing.

J.C. writes:
You can't be a true liberal unless you're miserable. The minority that claims happiness feel that they have reached the correct level of constant outrage.

Mishael writes:
Are O’Reilly, Hannity or Limbaugh happier? They seem to me like they are complaining about something every day!

Matt writes:
Let's do a survey on this issue again AFTER November!

Lisa from Arizona writes:
Annoy a liberal: Work hard. Succeed. Be happy.

Kevin from Albany, New York writes:
Ignorance is bliss.

soundoff (310 Responses)
  1. Ray, Florida

    It' simple Jack!

    Conservatives have the bulk of the wealth in this country!
    So they follow the party line, hit the talking point's, contribute their money, and that's one less stress they have to deal with!

    As long as their taxes are as low as possible they're happy!

    Liberal's are the bleeding heart's of the world, noble but stressful!
    It's hard to be happy when you can see the world beyond your wallet!

    There's no time to be happy!
    Alway's a new cause!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  2. Joy, Springfield, IL

    They don't know any better.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Terry from North Carolina

    Liberals are always looking for something for nothing, to support these liberals you have to have a lot of money for them and many government programs to assist them. On the other hand conservatives work hard and are not always looking for hand outs. Conservatives make more out of less to get by.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  4. Rocky from Chicopee, Mass.

    Its easy Jack. Since conservatives have sex so fewer times in their lives, when they do, it makes them verrrrrrrrrrrry happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  5. Dan, Chantilly Va

    Ignorance is bliss

    May 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  6. Michael, New Jersey

    The conservatives are happier because they have no clue. If they knew that the republicans, that they vote for, continually hold them down, socially and economically, they would be very unhappy. They are also very religous, thinking that god can help their lives. However, things would improve much faster if they voted for competent leaders of our government, instead of twice for Bush.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  7. James in Cape Coral, FL

    Who cares Jack! Conservatives, liberals, republican, democrat, independant, left, right, who really cares. Why can't we all just agree to be American and make our country great as a result. Unity is the key and all these different labels we put on each other are the reason we never agree. Besides, how does one become liberal? Is there a beat down initiation like they do in the bloods or the crips? As an outsider to all this political BS that's what it seems like, gang wars. But I guess all the bickering makes us great role models to our children.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Paul Columbia, SC

    Conservatives know that people can think for themselves. The elephant never forgets. Conversely liberals assume that people cannot think for themselves and thus have the burden of having to do it for them. Forget the donkey. Chicken Little is their guy.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  9. AndyZ; Fairfax, VA

    The conservatives are so happy because they know full well in their black little hearts that they have caused an economic situation that the quarrelsome, in-fighting, out of control and leaderless Democrats will spend decades trying to correct without a prayer of success. What a time to be a NeoCon. Destroy the economy, give the Oval Office to the loyal opposition and then blame them for the entire mess when they show they have not a clue as to how to fix it all. Makes a man proud to be a Republican.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  10. Ryan, Champaign IL

    Ignorance is bliss and Nero fiddled while Rome burned. There's nothing wrong with rationalizing inequalities, but rationalizing greed, corruption and the profiteering from social inequalities is no way to make a living.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  11. David NH

    I have to say it, you have way too much time on your hands!
    95% of all mental therapists got in to the field to get help for their own mental afflictions.
    The notion that they've been able to poll all these republicans can only mean one thing: More Republicans need mental help and Democrats!
    Democrats are just as happy, but we just make friends with the voices.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  12. Adam Mercer Oshawa, Ontario


    As I read that article the only thing that kept crossing my mind about economic inequalities was the fact that baseball players' minimum wage is three or four times higher than the starting salary for a teacher, police or fireman. Only a Republican could make sense of entertainment being more valuable than the people who guide our kdis toward their futures, or those who protect us when we are most in need.

    This thought does explain why it is that John McCain keeps saying he doesn't know anything about the economy.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  13. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    In my opinion, conservatives are more concerned with themslves or those in their immediate vicinity which may affect them. Liberals tend to take on a more global image. While things may be going well for them personally, they can not feel the same level of joy knowing that others in their communiy or world are suffering.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  14. upset voter in TX

    Well now I know the REP have better rules. LIFE LONG DEMOCRAT GONE REPUBLICIAN. thanks DNC and peloci!!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  15. Dee Lightner

    Why are conservatives happier? They have all the money and power. What's not to be happy about?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  16. John Kelty

    Ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  17. David, Orlando, FL

    I guess it’s Friday. Ignorance is bliss. Conservatives are idiots (they voted for the biggest idiot on the planet twice) hence they are too dumb to see what is going on around them. Liberals, on the other hand, are far more intelligent and thus are painfully aware that they and our great country are being led over a cliff – what’s to be happy about?

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  18. carrie in CO

    It's not that they're happier – they just are popping pills so they can continue to maintain a false reality, where their perfect children never give in to temptation, their spouse would never cheat and their pastor would never hire a gay prostitute. Ignorance is bliss right...

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  19. Michael In Maine

    Easy Jack,
    Liberals have had to suffer 8 years of George W Bush. while conservatives embrased him. By the way that 47% of conservatives make up the 28% who still think that Bush is doing a good job! What we have here are the blind leading the sublime!

    Michael in Skowhegan, Maine

    May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm |

    Because the conservatives are too stupid to know they are bitter and unhappy.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  21. Erin

    I don't trust the test.

    Look those of the so-called RIGHT way, whether it be political conservative or fundamentalist, have to say their happy– their whole rationale of being better than others is based on this very premise!

    Those who claim to know all the answers can't admit to having questions, Jack!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  22. Jose

    Come on Jack, most conservatives aren't happier, they are more miserable than as us liberals. The only difference is that they have better Poker faces. They're miserable that they have to keep themselves in the closet and also keep their bathroom stalls, congressional page escapades on the down low.......not like us liberals we are pretty much in your face.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  23. Stephen

    Nice to see that this has given everyone to take veiled (or maybe not-so) shots at each other.

    I think the reason conservatives are more happy has to do with the feeling that things are the way they should be. by definition a conservative is resistant to change from the status quo. If one resists change then one must be satisfied to a certain degree..right?

    Liberals on the other hand tend to think more about how things could be better...thus leading them to feel that there is something wrong with the way things are.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  24. Simon

    What ever happened to "love thy neigbor"? As long as republicans have the "**ck everybody else" policy they will be happy. Look beyond your life, Jack, and you may be troubled too.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  25. Carol in Durham Maine

    Wonder who funded this study? Great propaganda for the Republican Conservatives who's reputation is clearly that of plying the trade of hate, dirt mongering and fear. ( Limbaugh, Colter types)

    These people are 'lock step' thinkers so they don't even know about the economy. They still think the war can be won because their leadership says so. It is easier to 'not think' and accept what ever comes your way than to actally analyze information.

    Not all conservatives are loaded. But most have no concience or social concern for the welfare of others in need. Witness the mess we are in now.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  26. Marolyn Matthys (Stavanger, Norway)

    Because they have figured out that "working hard" involves lounging around the pool with their Blackberry...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  27. Anne Harris

    Perhaps the conservatives feel better because they don't worry about those who need to be feed, find a home, and the liberals are more concerned about their fellow citizens, not quite so selfish as conservatives. – Anne

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  28. JB

    Liberals do NOT care more about anything other than themselves and what others think of them. Reality is that Conservatives always donate the most money to charities. Look up The Gores vs the Bushes, for instance. You libs should be embarrassed.
    Get a grip Lefties.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  29. Michelle

    Because Conservatives are used to being part of a flock. Whether it religious or political. They do as other sheep do and follow the flock. Not having to think or question makes them happy. Ignorance is bliss.

    On the other hand. Liberals want to live and let live but are constantly stressed about others. They worry way to much about the other guy so no matter how great their lives are they are constantly aware that there are less fortunate. So they focus on what they can't control and loose site of the blessings in front of them.

    Most people in America should be the happiest people in the world, we are truly lucky.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  30. Dan Gordon

    Because Liberals can't stop complaining!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  31. John

    Of course conservatives are happier. Ignorance is bliss. "Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see." - The Beatles

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  32. Shawn

    Take a look at the responses from some, who would probably define themselves as liberal. These are definitely unhappy people!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  33. Alan King

    Conservatives are relatively lack of self-examing ability. If they win, they think the result is directly frim their personal virtue. Most of the time, it is simply not true. If they lose in one area, they can always find another area to feel good. Conservatives are generally more individualistic, more selfish, more self-righteous and lack of empathy and sympathy. Dick Cheney is much more willing to attribute his suceess to his personal virtues than Warren Buffet will.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  34. mary in severn

    I am neither a conservative nor a liberal.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  35. Redfoot, NJ

    Jack, I'm not sure but.....Conservatives most likely are richer and better off than Liberals. I would say most people I meet who are wealthy are conservatives (Right). And most of the people I meet who are blue collar and middle cast (rapidly declining) are liberal (Left).
    By the way who came up with right or left????

    Redfoot, Hazlet,NJ

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  36. John

    From my experiences, I notice that conservatives tend to judge people less than liberals do. Maybe it's because of lowered expectations of how society should be. Liberals tend to have an idealistic and sometimes irrational view of how the world should behave.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  37. Dave, Colorado


    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  38. Jennifer from Whittier, CA

    Well, let the conservatives be happy now. I'm sure the French aristocrats were well-pleased with their lot in life before the social inequalities led to the French Revolution. We are seeing the results of inequality all over the world: food riots in Haiti and Egypt, riots over a lack of political representation in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Los Angeles (!!) If I were a conservative and believed that all this madness is simply due to the victims lack of motivation and industry, then yes, I'd be happy as a self-satisfied clam. But no, I'm a well-educated liberal and I can see the handwriting on the wall, and our days are numbered.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  39. Cristyn

    Have you ever heard the saying "Ignorance is bliss," Jack?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  40. Barry

    I love all the gross generalizations that go on here and the vitriol everyone seems to have for the other side. I am a conservative. I do not agree with Bush on everything and am not an idiot. I do work hard, own a company, fend for myself and my family and live a happy upper-middle class life. I expect that others will do the best they can and not depend on the government for assistance. The government is not here to take care of you especially with my money.

    John Adams, before ink was even dry on the constitution, saw the two party system as the ruin of this great democracy. Viewing the way you people think about each other, he was right.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  41. Angelina

    Pretty simple, Jack. They believe in and have faith in God.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  42. John J Curley

    If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!

    John J

    Hackensack NJ

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  43. Kevin

    This question is clearly meant to start a flame war between liberals and conservatives. Can we please give it a rest?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  44. Dave

    Conservatives live in a world of black and white - where if someone doesn't succeed, it's his fault for not trying harder; where if someone is different (whether by nationality, sexual orientation, etc.), then she doesn't deserve the same level of respect and compassion; and where if someone prays to a different god, he is a lost soul. In this clear-cut, absolutist worldview, happiness is easy to attain: just do what's clearly right, encourage others to do the same, and leave your worries behind.

    Liberals live in a world of relativism - where it's harder to blame, disrespect, or demonize others. There's always mitigating circumstances that can be used to rationalize the worst crimes or take the luster off the most impressive feats. So in these shades of nuance, liberals can never be fully confident that what they're doing IS 100% right. As this worldview humbles someone into thinking as a "we" instead of an "I", empathy naturally follows. And, regardless of how successful they individually are in this world, empathizers can't be completely happy unless everyone is completely happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  45. joey

    one more thing, jack cafferty is a refreshing realistic figure in the media, thank you for making the news more bearable. its seems there's nobody else in the American media (fox and friends) who has the guts to be cynical about the government.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  46. Butch Syracuse NY

    What's to be happy about giving all your hard earned money away in entitlement programs. Sure many need it, but many more are just too lazy to work. Health care for all....even the lazy?....I don't think so.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  47. Gary North Carolina

    Ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  48. Chris

    Could it be that "lberals" take jobs on the "front lines" of inequalities and injustices?
    Won't it make sense that a corporate, making big bucks be happier than someone working as a public defender or on the Justice Projects.
    Or a cosmetic surgeron vs a emergency room doctor?
    Sometimes your values lead to professions where you confront the very issues that make you depressed/unhappy/sad.
    While others go bithley along believing people some how deserve the things that happen to them.
    (Sometimes they do, but sometimes life craps on you)

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  49. Tim

    Apparently, by these posts, liberals whine alot more too.

    As for teachers; fifty thousand people will not pay $25 apiece (cheap ticket) to watch ten teachers give a lecture.

    The same cannot be said for 10 basketball players playing a game.

    Thats economics.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  50. Michael

    It seems that liberals tend to think that they're smarter than everyone else. So they become frustrated when other people don't see things the way they see them. I can tell that just by looking at the comments that liberals have made to this question.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  51. Rick

    As the saying goes. Ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  52. Dan Gordon

    Because they aren't Liberals who think they are better than everyone else. Conservatives are "I'm OK, your OK" and Liberals are "I'm OK and your not."

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  53. Mary in Atlanta

    I'm Liberal and VERY happy! I'm thrilled we have 255 days until BUSH IS GONE! I'm happy our soldiers will be able to come home soon after Bush is gone, I'm happy this country has figured out what a joke Cheney and Bush are, and I'm happy the republiucans have once again made fools of themselves. I'm happy Jack, and so will the rest of the WORLD when Bush is gone from OUR White House!!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  54. John in Grand Rapids

    Jack, here is a simple answer to why?

    Us Conservatives get our paycheck, and think I could be making more, what service can I provide, what product can I create to increase my earning potential.

    The liberal on the other hand, looks at their check, thinks the boss is screwing them over, they think they deserve a raise every time the calendar changes, and becomes bitter because the conservative in the office is making more, because of productivity.

    They are bitter, unhappy people, I personally have never met a happy one, 37 years old, and they are always b*tching about something!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  55. Jack

    Interesting study. I would imagine that anyone who understands that superior effort can bring superior results (the basis of the American Dream, i.e. a conservative) rather than trying constantly to make the results the same for everyone regardless of effort except themselves (a socialist/marxist liberal) knows their future is substantially under their control and are thus happy. Leftists believe "The Man" keeps them away from the nirvana they envisioned while smoking pot in the 60's. Bush is not a conservative now nor was he ever; conservatives don't condone Bush's blood feud with the Iraqi dictator or the vast majority of his policies. A NeoCon is not a conservative, it's a lesser evil (we thought) than a liberal.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  56. rob

    haven't you ever heard that ignorance is bliss?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  57. getsmart usa

    you know what should NOT have been news: when obama won North Carolina over some demographics, in a RED state.

    obama's college student support is a joke. all of those kids are wasting their parent's money

    it doesnt matter if obama is the delegate, GOP would whip out the big guns in the fall, run a million commercials where obama says he's for making ( ) legal. it would be over. micheles husband can never get elected.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  58. Lisa

    After reading this article, I've decided that conservatives are happier because they have cookies. That could be the picture at the top and my sweet tooth talking though.

    I would tend to agree with that theory though, to me conservatives are often better at justifying inequalities. Which unfortunately perpetuates said inequalities, be it for women vs men, blacks vs whites, rich vs poor etc...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  59. Chris , New Jersey

    I love comments like my fellow New Jerseyan, Michael. To paraphrase – If the Republicans only knew that they were being held back by their elected offiicials and citing "voting twice for Bush". Quite amazing being that rationale applies to the State of NJ where Democrats rule and we have the highest property taxes, fees and corruption in the nation. But no one votes the Democrats out of office here.

    Conservatives are happier because they understand that life isn't fair, you get out what you put in, you can't make everyone happy and have consensus, and that for every entity there are good and bad parts.

    Liberalists believe no one is at fault for their situation, people shouldn't be punished for wrong behavior, everyone should make the most amount of money for the least amount of work and that there is a solution or explanation for everything.

    You can't reason with unreasonable people. Most liberals are so caught up in being offended for others and championing their causes, yet if you try to make them understand your perspective, they don't want to hear it. Free speech for their reasoning only. They are never happy, are they?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  60. roger dowdle lockhart, tx

    Conservatives tend to be happier in their roles as they define them. Liberals always seem to want change, often for changes sake. Conservatives aren't always trying to change rules and standards. Liberals,as soon as they approach their goal, want to increase the bar, and if the goal proves to be less than desired, refuse to admit they might be wrong. Liberals determine what programs are needed and then they and their associates staff the programs. It is kind of like shrinks setting mental health standards, when their livelyhood depends on mental illness. Need a new boat? broaden the standards, get those payments thru new treatment.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  61. Well....

    Activists are always unhappier. With unfulfilled causes, what else could you be? People who are content with the world are bound to be happier. This report is just rehashing the cliche, "Ignorance is Bliss."

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  62. spencer

    Must have been conservatives conducting this study.................

    May 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  63. Cynic

    Honestly – I think it's a matter of perspective.

    People who are Conservatives look at the status quo and think "all is good." Liberals look at the status quo and think "something is wrong here – let's fix it."

    If you see the world as flawed, you will naturally be less happy about it. If you don't, you won't. It's not a matter of ignorance, religion, wealth, or ideology. It's simply a matter of perspective about the world around you.

    The problem is that both parties are polarizing people more and more, in an attempt to cater to their vocal minorites. Where in previous generations – "reaching across the aisle" was considered "Statemanship" – now it has become "traitorous".

    Both viewpoints have something to offer. Pure "meritocracy" led to the abuses of the powerful against those less so (think the robber barons of the 1800s); as though who have power begin to think they have a divine right to it. Pure equality – on the other hand – leads to the failed utopian dreams of the true marxist communists. Not all people ARE equal at everything. I am not, nor will i ever be – a good basketball player.

    But liberalism brought about the laws that allowed unions to help create the middle class (home of so many modern conservatives) and eliminate sweatshops and child labor. And one of the core conservative tenets -hard work makes one wealthy, was the engine that made the US a superpower.

    Both viewpoints have their value – and the truth is often somewhere in the grey areas between. Sadly – this message will probably be lost in the noise of the partisan shouting.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  64. Luke

    Nice, with an election season coming up we have yet another phony poll to force people to make distinctions between eachother rouse the rabble. It'd be way more constructive to talk about the issues... you used to be a newsman (WPIX NYC nightly news).

    Anyway, put up a photo of Dick Cheney side by side with a Tom Hanks headshot and tell me who looks happier.

    More importantly why is there no spellcheker bilt into this wordpad?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  65. further right than you..and rich

    Dee – damn straight. get off your bum and make some money to support your beloved welfare programs

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  66. John

    In short, Liberals tend to be unaccepting of human nature.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  67. Bob

    "Pigs In Zen". Yep conservatives have a lack of empathy so problems in the world don't make then depressed. That's a sign of a good person. They said Jesus was a liberal, and I am sure he'd be depressed in this society too.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  68. Bobbeh

    The angry comments kind of reinforces the article don't you think?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  69. Christoph Wienands

    Wow, that's a great euphemism : Rationalize away. I have a couple better expressions for that: Ignorant, self-centered?

    And my question to you is: Any even better expressions?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  70. Dan

    Read the comments. So much anger in the left. Somehow, blaming others for your problems doesn't lead to happiness. Who woulda thunk.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  71. Bryan

    Geez, anyone see trend from the previous posts? Might CNN's readers be a bit left-leaning?

    Conservatives are happy because they trust themselves and take responsibility for their own actions instead of passing the blame along to the government when something goes wrong. Having pride in your work and accomplishments is what makes a person happy – and as a result that is why a conservative (not necessarily a Republican) is generally happier.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  72. Geri Towle

    Conservatives are happier because they realize that happiness is something that arises from inside one, Nothing outside of yourself has your happiness. So, happiness is readily and at all times available if you choose to tap into an inexhaustable supply you have deep inside yourselr..

    Liberals always look outside themselves for something to be happy about or someone who has their happiness but just won't give it to them. This will always be frustrating and they will always be looking for something to "make" them happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  73. Brian

    Conservatives aren't more happy, but they all think they're supposed to be so they pretend. They try to convince themselves that by ignoring all of their problems they'll go away. They're afraid to face reality, and look for simple answers to explain away their problems as quickly as possible so they can go on pretending to be happy again.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  74. Claire

    If you are happy, you probably don't want to change your situation. So, you become conservative..

    If you are unhappy, you probably do want to change your situation. So, you become liberal.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  75. John Warren, Santo Domingo

    Simple: The cited poll was taken in 2006 – Bush conservatives had already had 6 years to totally ruin our economy, squander all the international goodwill we had after 09/11, erode our personal freedoms, and continue to skew income toward the richest among us. How happy would you be as a liberal after 6 years of Bush? Ask the same question after 6 years of Obama!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  76. Charlie

    Jack...I've the world most hard nose conservative and was a Republican until George Bush came along. I changed parties to avoid voting for him. That does not make me a liberal just because I'm smarter than those who voted for Bush. I've tried to be Independent but Lou drove me away. Now I'm the happiest conservative Democrat in America. Just label me Happy and skip all these other names.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  77. Jason Shackelford

    Are you talking about the constitutional conservatives, or the religious freakshow (set the community standards for everyone) conservatives?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  78. Jonah, Boston MA

    Conservatives are happy cause they're not constantly at war with conservatives– greedy, selfish, war-mongering, simpleminded, racist, hateful, xenophobic, obnoxiously religious, anti-intellectual conservatives. When you're a liberal and you have to constantly deal with these people in the fight for what's good and right, it can be pretty depressing.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  79. Ed

    Lots of blog here about how conservatives are all stupid and ignorant, and liberals are all noble and intelligent. Shame on you. Plus, these spiteful answers merely lend support to the study's conclusions.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  80. Leland

    The conservatives have all the money argument – horse-biscuits! Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, the vast majority of the entertainment industry; these aren't exactly setting off a tremor on a conservatometer here.
    Other end of the spectrum, myself, my family, we little guys who work hard to provide for ourselves and would rather the government and big brother and liberal 'angels' would leave us to the ability to take care of ourselves, lend a hand if we need it, but not try to coddle us because we're 'poor and obviously incapable of taking care of ourselves'. Lend the hand if asked for, but then get out of the way.
    We don't need some bleeding heart telling us that 'they feel our pain and that it isn't fair we don't have x, y, or z". In all honesty, if I'm probably doing just fine without x, y, or z, the truth is I probably don't have any real need for it beyond making someone feel better about themselves that "now, things are more fair".
    A lot of "conservatives" aren't happier for any reason other than we love our family, we love having a chance to take care of ourselves and not feel we're any less than anyone else just because we make do with fewer things. We have ourselves, we have our spirit, and we have the opportunity, if WE want it.
    And those are things we can value and feel happy about, because they're things we can work hard for to provide ourselves, not because they were just handed to us like a bone to a stray dog.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  81. Marie Lambe

    Mr. Cafferty, I think that conservatives may be more content with their lives than liberals because conservatives really don't care about the welfare of others. Their primary concern is themselves and as long as they are doing fine, well, who cares about anybody else? As a liberal, I struggle with these inequalities targeted by the study. I work in a part of town with a high concentration of poverty. I see the toll it takes on the kids and families that I work with and yes, it bothers me very, very much. It makes me more appreciative of the life that I have but yet, it haunts me. Many conservatives believe in a god that blesses people with material things and this study may also reflect that belief. This kind of thinking is hogwash but many conservatives ascribe to it. It may be that for liberals, the world doesn't revolve around themselves but for conservatives, it does. When your world is smaller and more insular, then the concerns of others isn't a big factor in your life. There is none so blind than he who will not see. Thanks for this opportunity. Marie Lambe, Fresno, CA

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  82. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    I am happy to be an independant. I am blissfully unaware of whether or not I am supposed to be happy. If things go well I am happy. If things go badly, it does change my mood. So much of life depends on outside factors beyond my control , I just accept what happens and remain my independant self. Just like my dog – when I give her food she is happy – when my wife or myself hit a jackpot at the Casino we are happy. Life is full of simple pleasure.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  83. Julian, New Orleans

    Easy Jack, because for the past eight years our country has been overlooked by the conservative elite. Bush has made his party establishment very happy, making them rich, and downplaying the Democrats in a governmnet role. With Bush, the conservatives have had everything going their way, a war that profits conservative run oil and defense companies, an economy planned to benefit the conservative elites, a healthcare system that benefits the conservative run insurance and drug companies, and all the while the Democrats and the other ninety percent of the country have been struggling to survive. Exactly how the conservatives like it.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  84. Jenn Jenn Jenn

    Boy, the comments out here from the liberals kind of proves the point, ha Jack? They sound like cynical, rude, arrogant, faithless human beings, who think they're above everyone else. Perhaps this is why they're so miserable.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  85. KevinSL

    Individuals that are prone to search internally for or to control their happiness and need to justify their circumstances label themselves as Conservatives.

    Individuals that feel guilty or slighted about their lives become or categorize themselves as liberals.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  86. LJ

    Conservatives have religion, the opiate of the masses, to make life seem rosy.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  87. Anonymous

    It would be incorrect to categorize the modern Conservative party as having "the bulk of the wealth in this country." Part of the conservative approach is growing a more efficient society, and, in doing such, creating a society that is more affordable for its citizens.

    One must consider the make-up of the modern Liberal party, specifically the Hollywood-element. It is trendy to be Liberal, and trendiness comes at higher price than . Further, Liberal policies are aimed at generating and accumulating more wealth for the purpose of creating a less efficent society. This means that one needs more money to support Liberal programs.

    Please ask yourself, what is the real price ($$$) of Liberalism? Who can afford to be a Liberal in a depressed economy? ....It's sure not the working man striving for efficiency in an inefficient economic system.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  88. Pete


    For nearly eight years, conservatives have had one of their own in the White House; of course they're happy. Liberals can only despair as they consider how long it will take America to dig out from the mess that Bush has made.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  89. Colleen, Chicago, IL

    Because as adults they still have a security blanket – their own self-righteousness...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  90. Mike

    It has very little to do with money or religion, I go to Church with liberals and conservatives. I also know plenty of rich liberals. The blanket statement that conservatives are rich or don't take a world view, or that liberals cry too much tends to highlight the extremes of both views. The difference I've noticed is that Liberals tend to take the view that society, and others, should bear the burden for problems and issues. Whereas conservatives, rich or poor, tend to have more of a "I'll get out of this mess myself". Liberals, in the extreme, tend to have a "big brother" view about regulation and laws, yet seem to want big brother to shoulder expenses when necessary.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  91. Brian from C-Town

    Jack –

    If conversatives are happy with the way the world is then let them be. I am a liberal and very happy with my life, but do not argee with conversatives and their point of view, because they are not for change. Pure example is the President of the United States.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  92. Mark

    It's not just that conservatives accept the idea of a meritocracy – they think we have one. If they have a lot of money they must have a lot of merit, and vice versa.

    The fact that they can cling to that rationalization in light of George Bush being president just exemplifies how deluded they can make themselves.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  93. Steve - Akron, Ohio

    Because a conservative philosophy is a simplistic one: To cure the epidemic of violent crime, put a gun in everyone’s pocket. Al-queda, Saddam Hussein, Communism all mean the same thing. Cure them with force. If your unemployed, you must be lazy. If your not guilty, you have nothing to hide from the government. Etc. etc. It saves a lot of stress when you don’t have to analyze things and come up with your own ideas.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  94. Joel

    Why are conservatives more happy? It is not because they are richer. On average liberal familes earn 6% more than conservative homes. It is not because because they are less charitable. In reality, Conservatives give significantly higher percentages of their income to charities than liberals. (See proffesor Arthur Brooks book "Who Really Cares")

    Conservatives are happier because they do not play the part of the victim. Call it "rationalizing inequality" all you want, but in reality it is the difference between victim and a non victim, a person who acts versus a person who is acted upon. Not buying into the victimhood mentality is empowering. Personal responsibility is the bed rock principle of conservatism and nothing is more likely to make you happy then to know that you are in control of your own life. "It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." ("Invictus", William Ernest Henly)

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  95. Ryan

    conservatives are happy as things are because they are blind. they think that we are the best country in the world.

    liberals see problems and worry that they will never be solved.

    i.e. – global warming -some conservatives think its fake! liberals worry about things like, you know, the world dying.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  96. Ben

    Like a couple of posts have already mentioned, it falls under
    "ignorance is bliss". It's really that simple. It's not true that the conservatives have all the money as a few have posted. There are many, many low income, poorly educated conservatives out there
    that really don't have a clue. They continue to vote against their own
    interests in election after election because they are consistantly duped every time by the few crooked, power hungry conservatives out there that ARE smart enough to understand this and take advantage of them time and time again. These conservative politicians play on
    their ignorance,patriotism and their predjudices. It's more than sad,
    it's dangerous and I would say it's even a national security issue. Just
    look at the last 8 years and that will show you what you get when half of the country is so ignorant. The downside of democracy is that anyone smart enough to push a button is allowed to vote.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  97. Matt from Baltimore

    The study is right and the concept is simple.......to a liberal, things are never "liberated" enough.......we could donate all our money to a dictatorship in Africa and run around naked in the streets all day with absolutely no rules - liberals would still complain! Simply put, whining about the "unfairness" of the American way of life is a liberal's 'raison d'etre', but because they are never satisfied they can never be happy........

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  98. Jerry Michnal

    Conservatives are just better crooks than liberals but they do so on the backs of liberals. Take a good look at the tax codes and loopholes which were written into law by non other than conservatives. I do have to give them credit though because they do what they do just on the “fringes” of the law. Take a look at what Rush and his cohorts did in Indiana for example. Only a conservative republican would have the nerve to get folks to cast their votes for an immoral reason, but not break any laws doing it. Same thing with the 2000 presidential election, only a conservative republican would manage to corrupt a system that used to be considered a valued right that so many people fought and died for, but yet again, no laws were broken. And because the Supreme court is made up of the same type of folks, they were just as contempt. Fortunately, there is justice from a higher power and thats why this country is in the shape its in now. It amazes me that we can send aid to foreign countries but don’t help our own right here when disaster strikes, but we all know the real deal with that. In spite of what the media and conservatives say, liberals don’t want a hand out, we just want equal treatment for all, not just the rich or folks that have access to the system. We also don’t have the John Wayne mentality that says if you’re different from us, we’ll bomb you into submission and send rich kids to do it!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |

    It's easy. We have faith in God.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  100. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: The war in Iraq, risining gas prices, rising food cost, soring healthcare cost..........all of which are caused by our inept government officials to take charge and come up with viable solutions to offer some relief to the American people. Label it conservative, liberal, center, right of center, left of center...........it is neither. Whether center, left of center or right of center...........it all boils down to "what is right and what is wrong." The troubling economy effects all of us regardless of the political labels we attach. Politicans build castles in the sky, expect Americans to live in them..........but eventually the psychiatrist will collect all the rents.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  101. Nahom

    Ok, I know this one. Conservates never go to war, they send others to fight theirs and also don't forget they have 8 years of ruling this country and having things their was so they have accumulated that much happiness while liberals have accumulated that much frastration.
    What about moderates? Independants? What about those who associate of liberals but are conservate by nature or vise vera. What does this all mean. Label and labeling and labeling and . . . you get my point. I am who I am and I am tired being labeled. The only thing I will accept being called is an American.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  102. sanders


    In my opinion, conservative women are far better looking than the Burkenstock clad crowd that inhabits most peace rallies.

    That is why we're happier...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  103. Scott in Pittsburgh

    As a conservative, I'm glad the liberals posting here informed me of the fact that I am too stupid to know that I am bitter and unhappy. I never would have guessed that. I guess the fact that I believe if I work harder than those around me then I will get better results must cloud my judgment. I probably should return my college degrees that I paid for with student loans and overtime to the schools that granted them, and spend more time feeling bad that others who would rather have things handed to them are not having the same level of success. How about that- I guess I am a bit bitter- but only when those who haven't put forth the effort cry foul when those of us who have succeed.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  104. Craig in Washington

    If conservatives are so darn happy, why are so many of them so intolerant and hateful? Why do they constantly interfere with the happiness of others? If their self-image and happiness was that great, they wouldn't be playground bullies.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  105. Doug

    Want proof this study is correct? Read these posts! The venom and hate that oozes from the (understanding, tolerant, accepting) left is extraordinary. The most hypocritical demographic in human history.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  106. Charles in Florida

    Jack, not sure about this one. Maybe you will shed some light on this one.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  107. sandy in Ohio

    Hey Jack, I am a liberal and I think of myself as very happy. I know there are inequalities in this world and I would love a world where all those disappeared but I accept the fact that they never will. While we are talking about liberals and conseratives, when did liberal become a smear. Liberals are those that go against the norm and what is expected. Thanks to liberals we hace fire, flight, cars and oh yes the U.S. All those founding fathers were going against the norm and look where that got us.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  108. John Nyanor

    I simply don't agree with you analysis. Is your analysis scientific?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  109. Robert

    It's an accepted fact that liberals have a mental defect. Fortunately this defect is correctable with psychotherapy. This is just more supporting evidence that Liberals can be happy if they go through the therapy to hopefully cure them.

    Don't get mad at liberals, pitty them!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  110. Mr. Right

    We conservatives are happy because we know we are right. It's not that hard to be right. Do you want to be happier? Start dealing with facts rather than buy into all the classic liberal BS – (e.g. that Conservatives are richer than liberals – when in fact – the richest 2% of US are more liberal than average according to Stanford U study). This article sez "that if you work hard and perform well, you’ll move up the economic ladder… and if you don’t, you probably won’t. But the study shows liberals tend to be troubled by this."" What dont you understand about that? That is reality. Sorry you are not happy with it! Stop waiting for the next govt hand-out or bail-out and complaining while people who are smart and hardworking get ahead. Shocker. How unfair is that? You live below sea level and got flooded...DUH! You took out an ARM and are in Foreclosure....DUH! You played in traffic and got run over...DUH! I am tired of paying >150K in taxes to listen to the pigs at the public trough tell the people filling the trough how unfair everything is, or how they are victims. Get off my back and get to work. I am.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  111. Robert Guyer

    Religiosity is associated with greater happiness. Giving is also associated with happiness and religious people give away much more of their income than do liberals. (Lots on both on the Web.) The vast majority of weekly church-goers are conservative and they make up a big part of all conservatives. Liberals just don't do religion as much or as intensely as do conservatives. That is part of the happiness gap.

    Robert in Nashville

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  112. matt

    Conservatives are happier because we take great joy in watching moonbat liberals whine, complain and look like children in whatever they are protesting this month!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  113. Mike

    This just made my day!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  114. Mark

    I grew up and went to college in conservative "poor" South Dakota and in my adulthood moved to liberal "rich" Minneapolis and uber-liberal Seattle. In other words, I've been immersed in both cultures. The difference between conservatives and liberals is that the liberals expect more. To make a generalization, liberals expect the government to make life fair, which is basically a recipe for unhappiness as they're placing their hopes in something over something in which they have very little control. Conservatives tend to be happier because they're more interested in freedom to do as they wish. Now, why would a "poor" person vote Republican? Because they have hope in bettering their situation themselves, not in the government doing it for them.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  115. Ian

    Ignorance is bliss. If you have the ability to ignore or just flat out put a mental block on all the problems of the world, then obviously you'll be more happy.

    Most people would rather believe a nice sounding lie, then learn a harsh truth. We call these people conservatives.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  116. Rick D

    After reading 5 or 6 of these comments, it is obvious. Liberals are mean spirited and ugly about things in general. If you are always blaming someone else, you have no power over your own short comings. You can only change yourself, once you get yourself perfect, then you can work on some else.

    I also think Liberal giveaway a smaller percentage of their money. It is easy to give away governments money, it shows real heart when you give out your own pocket to really help your fellow man.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  117. Daniel in Chicago

    Conservative Philosophy (the real kind) is better... it promotes and protects the right to choose and make one's own decisions, and be truly free. If you're free or believe in and understand the message of freedom then you're likely to be happier.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  118. carl

    Most of the conservatives I know have the empathy quotient of a turnip.
    Their me first, last, and always perspective leaves them with a very narrow view of the world. As long as no one messes with their food bowl or their blankey, they're happy as peas in a pod. Liberals, for better or worse, at least consider the plight of their fellows. And I'll take that every time!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  119. Brian

    Because they are not a liberal!!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  120. Donnie Garrow

    Ignorance is bliss Jack. When you mentioned the idea of why some feminists seem less happy then those whom follow a more "traditional" marital life you really have to factor in that most are not aware of some of the ideals that have been promoted through feminism. That's not an elitist thought either. Look at the people who attend church regularly or worse yet turn to God to solve their problems. They turn off the little light that guides them to solving their own problems and wait for Jesus to right the wrongs of the day. So even if life is not turning your way, a more conservative value system tells you that after this life it will turn out better. I'd be happier too if I didn't try to think about what lessons were actually being taught to me in grade school (Catholic).

    Donnie Garrow
    Ottawa, ON

    May 9, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  121. Paul of Virginia

    Conservatives are living in denial. We use to have places to treat these kinds of people until the Republicans did away with the treatment facilities. Now they are free to roam the streets projecting their happiness and false since of accomplishments.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  122. Anna

    I find it interesting that so many posters on here think that the Republicans have all the money and power and that's why we're happy. Funny, true blue conservative here, I'm lower middle class, very little money in savings, and work for corporate America as a typical "cog in the machine". I'm hard pressed to see where all my wealth and power lie.

    Am I happy, Yes. Why? Because my life is in order. I'm self sufficient, I pay my bills, I budget, and don't try to keep up with the Jones'. I'm a proud discount shopper, Wal-Mart and Ross are my favorite retailers. Seems to me if I've got all this so called "wealth" I could afford to shop at Dillards or Macy's.

    And yes it is very easy for me to rationalize that if you are a hard worker then it will pay off and you will move ahead. That is just common sense, and I've experienced both in my life. I only had myself to blame when I was not successful at a task, it certainly wasn't the President's fault.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  123. Preston

    I think, Jack it's just because if liberals had nothing to complain about or no one to blame about their insecurities or every day problems....then they would, in turn, cease to have a party.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  124. Tampa Voter


    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  125. Richard

    Several years ago another study showed that conservatives have higher IQs than liberals. That blows a lot of the above theories out of the water.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  126. Tony, Seattle

    I would hate to be standing in front of whoever or whatever we stand in front of on the judgment day after we are dead and gone to only have lived a life not caring about the inequalities of our society and a life where I didn't care about the sick and the poor and the helpless. When one suffers we all suffer and until we all learn that nothing will ever really change. That's just my two cents.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  127. Ryan

    Conservatives are happier because they stay true to their beliefs and want to respect and stay true to the beliefs of our founding fathers. We believe in the Constitution, not Socialism. Conservitaves believe that everyone is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...NOT life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness thanks to handouts by the government.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  128. Jon

    If you draw comparisons with the world wide country happiness articles written in the last couple months, what do you find?

    Denmark is the "happiest" country. It's not due to overwhelming personal wealth, or power either. Denmark as a country is highly dependent on foreign trade, and has comparatively high tax rates. However, their sense of happiness is derived from their relative security and acceptance of their position in the culture that surrounds them. They are not threatened by EU expansion and loss of national identity, as they've been forced to be able to trade and communicate with numerous neighbors. They don't feel threatened by internal costs of healthcare and education since they've got a socialistic system to cover that. They're ok with that balance.

    One comment on the US situation was that happiness in the US was based on an infatuation with the "American Dream". Do Republicans believe they've acheived it? Are they more content with their situation? Are Democrats overly idealistic, shooting for goals too high, or just frustrated by the system?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  129. Barbara E., New York City


    Not only are Democrats more intelligent than Republicans, they also have a better sense of humor. Lefty humor - probably honed as a result of laughing in the face of adversity - is smarter, edgier, and, let's face it, fall-down-laughing funny.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  130. no more hill-billy

    the bottom line....if you don't know that you are sad, than you aren't sad....
    conservatives don't know any better

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  131. PS

    Not all republicans are rich...

    My wife and I barely survive and pay our bills, but I am not compromising my beliefs and values to let some dumb liberals run the country..

    Republicans are happier because they don't live with guilt and shame like most Democrats.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  132. Ralph Perez

    I am a liberal and I support meritocracy. That why I am disatisfied when those Wall Street scoundrels get away with huge golden parachutes when their companies fail and workers end up losing their pensions. New York State employees who engage in on the job wrong doing may end up in jail but they get to keep their pensions.
    I can compete with the best of them but the playing filed is not level. If you are very rich and can pay for excellent legal advise you get away with murder – cases in point – Durst, OJ Simpson and Robert Blake. Until we level the playing feild there will be widespread disatisfaction. In business and at law, "All men are created equal" should stand for something. Right now that sentiment rings hollow.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  133. Karen - Branson MO

    Here we go again with narrow studies and polls. Who says this is true? There are way too many variables that can alter even the best conservative or liberal. I've seen really wealthy individuals, conservative...lose everything with just one medical emergency even WITH insurance.

    I don't believe in stereotyping or "grouping" people based on conservative v liberal or any such thing. Those are artificial labels that do not reflect all the factors in a person's life.

    I don't buy it.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  134. Russell

    Aren't conservatives supposed to believe in minimal government interference - the idea that people, left to their own devices, will work things out for themselves?

    If so, then it would make sense that they're happier - they may not think things are perfect, but they're not going crazy trying to figure out what the government should do about it.

    Meanwhile, liberals, faced with the daunting task of "fixing the whole mess," are bound to be miserable. What government exists that could set everything right that's wrong with the world?

    (Not advocating or condemning either point of view, although most would say I'm a liberal.)

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  135. Thomas Yellich

    Consevative people are so worried that anybody and everybody will take their fortunes away that they never have time to enjoy life. Always in the back of their small brained heads the alarm bells are ringing 24/7 look out? Who's that? What's that person doing near my driveway? From Hunchback V. P. Cheney up and down the roster these people live a tormented life of dinial, greed, glutiny and religious intolerance.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  136. Peter Perry, Harwwod MD.

    Ignorance is bliss!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  137. Mike

    I love reading the responses. The question at hand is to divide everyone. Does it matter to me if your an unhappy lib or happy con? No, I can give a rat's behind to who in this world is happy, how much money someone else makes, and how lazy people deserve more because they can't help themselves. Once America gets out of this thought process, we'll all be a lot better off.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  138. Randy_H

    The problem is the definitions of "conservative" and "liberal", not which group is happier.

    I'd propose the real division is between hypocrites and honest folk. Neither ideology has a monopoly on hypocrisy, and hypocrites tend to spend an inordinate amount of their time trying to compensate for their own looming, ever present sense of guilt.

    Half of the "replublicans" I know are more liberal than me, and half of the "democrats" I know are more conservative. Both are immensely less happy from day-to-day, though the republicans seem more willing to medicate (prescription or self-administered) than the democrats who are usually kooky naturopaths or something silly like that.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  139. Blake

    Just look at all the comments above about how "stupid" conservatives are. This is the problem! Too many liberals are too busy being intellectually superior to be in touch with reality. Who's unintelligent? I would call failing to get your party together enough to beat a terrible president TWICE the very definition of unintelligent. Why do liberals despise religion (again, see comments above)? Because it runs contrary to their belief that they are God and that they have all the answers. If you were as lofty as you thought you were, and had the right answers to everything, then why have you failed to reach a wide enough audience to at the very least beat George Bush? Perhaps its because you aren't as smart as you think.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  140. Chris

    I don't this there can be any doubt that this study is true... look at the responses. Liberals are even upset that they get upset! Getting mad and angry at the people who have all the "money and power" is not the way to convince them they are wrong. Put forward a logical argument backed up with facts and I guarantee you will see better results that an insult-laden tirade. Grow-up America... all of you!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  141. Reed

    Finally! - a study that proves quantifiably the old adage "Ignorance is bliss"

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  142. Bill in California

    I think there is a vast difference in personalities. By that, I mean, some people are selfish and self absorbed. They take care of their own and believe others should do the same. Just so they get theirs.
    On the opposite side–other personalities feel a caring, sensitive obligation to reach out to others. They are disturbed by injustice, hatred and indifference exhibited in their community, country and in the world. I don't know if it is fair to assign those atributes to political parties–although there seems to be a degree of accuracy here based on the individuals in my family.
    I do believe that community will continue to digress unless we unite and reach out to all peoples in the world. Guess I am delusional.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  143. James

    Jack, I have always considered myself to be a conservative. I believe that government should be small, and non intrusive in my life. I believe in strong moral values and feel that if we try to control our natural desires that we will find greater happiness. I also feel very happy in my life. I am not rich, in fact I am lower middle class. I have always felt a moral responsibility to look out for others interests. I am very concerned with the poverty of america. I worry about the future my my childrern and future grandchildren will have. I am grateful for the many charities that are out there, and I donate my time and money to them often. I appreciate the many different churches and their keen concern for their members. The world has many problems, but my experience is that good people will always work to overcome them.
    Usually government does a far worse, and inefficient job of solving the problems that are out there, than what the people can do. If we did things the way the Republicans, and Democrats that are in office propose, we would go bankrupt before the problem is solved.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  144. Joe from NYC

    Conservatives are happy because they know if they work hard and do the right things they will succeed. Liberals are unhappy because they want to skate by and get handouts from the hardworking conservatives. If the liberals get control and start taxing hardworking Americans heavy to give it away to all the slackers then you will see the reverse.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  145. Shane

    Ignorance is bliss. If you refuse to recognize world's problems, you have nothing to be unhappy about.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  146. Kevin in Tx

    Looks like majority of responsors are obviously Bush-hating liberals. And the way things are going between Obama/Clinton, conservatives are perhaps happier knowing that perhaps they'd get 4 more years of republican leadership. And if conservatives have more "money" as many bloggers say... perhaps they know the economy more than anyone.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  147. Mike

    I think the cause-and-effect part of this study is misunderstood.

    It's not the people are happy because they are conservative. It's the happier people tend to become more conservative.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  148. Bo

    Libs are hippies, pure and simple. Always something to fight about, something to save: obscure animal, land mass, tree/crop, or way of oppresion such as in the Middle East. I don't think anyone's happy right now with the government / economy / partisan crap. My dollar buys less. The hippy's welfare check while he's protesting something outlandish buys less. No one's happy, but conservatiives may be the least unhappy of all.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  149. brian

    it's easy to be happy when you don't think about the terrible things happening in our country and world. foxnews.com's headline right now is "witches vs. marines". it's easy to be happy when you're focused on something so insignificant (in the big picture) as a protest group while 100,000 people died from a cyclone on the other side of the world.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  150. jeff

    It's simple: Liberals tend to be idealists (I was one when I was younger): idealists see all the flaws/inequities/inequalities, etc., in the world and want to see them eliminated/corrected. If they are aware of the fact that History suggests that elimination or correction of these flaws will never be possible, they become upset, and as they age and begin to realize that is the reality, they become frustrated and unhappy (perhaps because they begin to realize they have wasted or misdirected a lot of energy in the course of their lives. That is unless they become more accepting of reality and begin to concentrate on making the most of what reality has to offer them in their lives (becoming closer to family and community and caring less about those outside of that relatively small circle)– in which case they morph into "conservatives" and become happier and more satisfied with life as it is.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  151. Wayne

    Well Jack, Conservatives constitute the majority of the elite crowd in this country, with no fear of being poor, or actually having to actually work for that matter, gives them the time both in my mind and body to concentrate on the important things in life such as politics and golf. Liberals on the other hand know full well the desperations of the average American and in a vain attempt try to overthrow the Neo-Facist rule of the Conservatives.

    Wayne from New York

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  152. David in San Diego

    Happier? I doubt it. Conservatives are always too busy judging other people and applying labels. This coming at a time when their Republican Party can't even define itself!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  153. David

    What is really funny is the comments on here about this article seem to coincide with the article. The liberals comments are irrational and the conservatives display rational thought.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  154. Carl

    Conservatives are generally less intelligent and less educated than liberals... so they really don't know any better. It's easier to be happy when you're oblivious to the suffering of your fellow citizens and the direction the country and the planet are taking.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  155. Greg in Leavenworth Kansas

    (LOL!!!) Jack, you sure do know how to "stir the pot" on a rainy Friday afternoon. But I must say that I certainly got a kick out of reading the blogs on this particular question – they were enlightening (both good and bad). Now to the question...

    Conservatives are typically happier than Liberals because Conservatives realize that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade (and/or lemon meringue pie!), and when life gives you limes, then you should make margaritas (and/or key lime pie).

    The point is that the happiest people know how to turn a rainy afternoon into a happy, productive, educational, and/or entertaining situation.

    Have a good weekend Jack, Wolf, everyone at CNN and all of Jack's bloggers!

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  156. Sam Samuelson

    Only 28% of liberals truly believe in god. Hence, only 28% are happy. (just kidding!)

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  157. Gary

    This is an easy one Jack!

    Conservatives see the glass as half full. Liberals see it as half empty.

    This must be why liberals are unhappy. This, of course, is till the government (like a waitress in a restaurant) steps in to re-fill their glass when they could have just got up and got the water on their own...

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  158. Karin Deutschler

    Not buying any of these numbers! This research must have come from the right wing.
    Liberal and Happy in Roswell, GA.
    Karin D.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  159. doug

    If your ideal world is one in which the successful and hardworking among us have the fruits of their labor taken from them and given to the less successful and less hardworking, then it is understandable that you would be unhappy as we do not (yet) live in such an egalitarian/socialist country. To think that we'd be debating the propriety of a meritocracy is mind boggling. Socialism does not work. From each according to his ability; to each according to his need is rubbish. Read your history. Look around the world.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  160. Steph

    Maybe liberals aren't happy because of all the hate they are obviously harboring...reference some of these comments. I'm not a pill popping, wealthy, ignorant or uncaring person. I do believe in right or wrong, and so many things are wrong and twisted with liberal views. I believe that maybe the liberals can't really reconcile the filth they spew out of their mouths with their consciences long enough to be happy and appreciate what we've got. Is the world perfect? No? Can I do my part to make it better? YES. I work hard, I expect others to work hard...liberals act like they are all so poor and not one has any wealth...t

    May 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  161. Rusty G.

    I would suspect it's the correlation with religious participation. Active religious people tend to be conservative, and for various reasons religious people tend to be happier. I may be wrong, but if you adjusted for religion, this phenomenon probably disappears.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  162. Vampire bats are cool

    Wait – Conservatives are not for change?
    What the h*ll was Abe Lincoln?

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  163. Winston in Berrien Springs, Michigan

    It's simple Jack. Conservative Republicans tend to be older, more financially secure, and are generally happy with what they have. Liberal Democrats on the other hand are typically younger, struggling, and are looking for the next best thing. To further express this point, consider this father-son correspondence: Dear Dad, no mon, no fun, your son. Dear Son, too bad, how sad, your dad.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  164. Doug from Bloomington IN

    To answer the question from my viewpoint, I would say that conservatives are happier because they have a over-simplified view of the world and of moral values. They don't question things, they just deny or shun. When you think about things in simplistic terms, life is easy and therefore happier. Liberals tend to embrace everything. They are all too accomodating at times. Liberal tend to think about things on a higher level and from all sides.
    The basic problem is that we've come to over-define what liberals and conservatives are. We need to eliminate the terms liberal, conservative, democrat and republican from our vocabularies. I admit that I fall victim to the attitudes that such labels conjure up. Thus, although sometimes disappointed as a Democrat, I am always disappointed by republicans. Conservatives represent hatred and narrow-mindednesswhile liberals are too flowery and fluffy and too feel-good.
    I don't like this fact, but that's where we're at.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  165. cathie/TX

    You have got to be kidding. This is a joke, correct? Someone has way to time on their hands.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  166. Henry

    Conservatives are happier because they have no feelings for the plight of the poor. Liberals are unhappy and will remain unhappy as long as the poor do not have enough to eat and do not have access to healthcare. Conservatives fail to pay attention to what their religions teach about the poor.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  167. Paul Shriver

    Liberals spend their days devising ways to bring down the rich - Non-wealthy Conservatives (there are many of us out here) strive to join them (the rich).

    May 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  168. Nick Batzdorf

    I'd be very unhappy if I became conservative.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  169. Mark C. Williams

    Conservatives are happier than liberals because they are more stupid and haven't thought about it.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  170. Pat Lyon

    I think you have to do some longitudinal studies for real validity. How happy were conservatives when their political agenda was not as powerful? And how happy were liberals when theirs was? Without going into other possible elements of such a study, I think one has to consider the actual validity of the data collected.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  171. keith

    Conservatives are happier because they are so good at ignoring the problems that surround them. The concept of an ideal culture of the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s is great, as long as they ignored racism, sexism, poverty and other ailments of society. If they opened their eyes, and their minds, to the social ills around them, they would become more liberal and realize there is much to be done.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  172. Kati

    Alas! Ignorance is bliss! Inequalities are getting harder and harder to rationalize away; these days, doing so can require ridiculous justifications.
    I think your application of the principle to feminists in marriage is sort of silly and too broad, though. This assumes that "traditional" women are truly happy with their situation, but it was those same traditional women in the 50s and 60s who realized that no, they weren't, and they began the 2nd wave of feminism. Sure, some women are satisfied in a traditional marriage, and good for them, but I sure hope that they chose it for themselves and aren't ignorant that they have other options. Do we want people to remain ignorant? Perhaps some of us do. I, however, don't.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  173. Fred Evil

    Big surprise, liberals are idealists, conservatives are selfish, self-absorbed and couldn't care less about the next guy.

    No news here.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  174. Ben in Redwood City, CA

    Resending reworded and with my city and state. Please post.

    Jack, like a couple of posts have already mentioned, it falls under
    “ignorance is bliss”. It’s really that simple. It’s not true that the conservatives have all the money as a few have posted. There are many, many low income, poorly educated conservatives out there
    that really don’t have a clue. They continue to vote against their own
    interests in election after election because they are consistantly duped every time by the few crooked, power hungry conservatives out there that ARE smart – smart enough to understand the I.Q.of their base that is and they take advantage of them time and time again. These conservative politicians play on their ignorance,patriotism and their predjudices. It’s more than sad, it’s dangerous and I would say it’s even a national security issue. Just look at the last 8 years and that will show you what you get when half of the country is so ignorant. The downside of democracy is that you only have to be smart enough to push a button to vote.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  175. Jesse

    It is unfortunate that this banter is so negative toward one another. Perception is reality. One person sees things one way, another a different way. I think it's a great benefit of this country that we can disagree and view issues from different perspectives. I just wish we would choose not to attack each other in the process. Negativity has become too sexy in our culture. It is very disconcerting. God bless everyone.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  176. Eli

    It's like it says in the Jewish Oral Torah:
    "Who is rich? the one who is happy with what he has. Who is strong? The one who overcomes his desires. Who is wise? The one who learns from all people."

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  177. Vic

    A conservative is a Liberal that's been mugged.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  178. Dave

    Of course they are happier. IGNORANCE IS BLISS! I grew up in a small city in the inland Northwest where everyone is an Evangelical Christian. What's there to be unhappy about when you are in the majority and simply steam roll others with impunity? I'm sure you'd also find gays and minorities are also less happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  179. Carlos C.

    Because they have no conscience Jack...

    =New Jersey

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  180. BJ Smith

    This survey must have been written by the Bush Cheney speech writers. Otherwise why does at least 80% of the country believe we are going in the wrong direction? If anybody is really happy about that, they are as delusional as those two.

    BJ in Seminole, FL

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  181. Rod

    The study may be correct in its conclusion but not the reasons. Conservatives are happier because they deflect, or can't recognize, what they and their president have done to this country for the past seven years. To take the largest surplus in American history and to turn it into the largest deficit in history, while at the same time wasting 4,000 American lives in a useless pursuit, should in fact have them miserable and guilt ridden. But by swallowing the party rhetoric and hiding from reality, they evade the truth. For myself, I am miserable over the state of this country, and am in pain over the 4,000 heroes wasted by their votes for Bush Part II, the most prolific American serial killer in history. Should McCain(Bush III) become president, the plight of this country will get even worse.

    If only I could hide from reality as well as they do. It wouldn't help or change anything, but maybe I'd be happier too.

    Rod from Indianapolis

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  182. Steve, Austin

    Its simple. Liberals worry about it, conservatives do something about it. Liberals want someone else to pay for wealth distribution while conservatives out give liberals in charity by 30% year after year good or bad economies.

    Are the young people voting for Obama really ready to give more of thier income to the poor through redistribution or open a business and hire the poor.

    Remember Al Gore in 1997, earning $197,729 and giving a whopping $353 to charity. I guess he was just conserving some green.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  183. Berat (Pronounced buh-RAHT), Park Ridge, IL


    In my day, conservatives advocated for less government intervention both at home and abroad. McCain is for neither, despite the lip service he's paying it now. He wants to cut taxes without settling the debt first, something that is the antithesis of intelligent conservatism. He pays lip-service to religious issues, and by his own admission, he knows little about economics. He's not a real conservative. Republicans may indeed be happy with John McCain, but real conservatives are probably going to be voting Libertarian, or perhaps staging a write-in campaign for Ron Paul.

    It's time once and for all to admit it, though: with George W. Bush as the president and John McCain as the nominee, the once-proud conservatism of the Republican Party has vanished completely.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  184. Ron

    You liberals are leaving some pretty funny quips here (conservatives pop pills and are too stupid to know whe're unhappy? oh stop it, you're killing me!), but look at how sadness and bitterness in your comments. It virtually proves the point of the study, doesn't it?

    Conservatives know the reason we're happier, and have known it for years: we're not burdened by a worldview that says everyone is a victim. We're not burdened by a worldview that insists everyone be classified into groups based on how they've been mistreated. Where conservatives see one person making more money than another and see opportunity, liberals look at the same thing and see inequality and unfairness. That's why we're happier.

    David from Orlando, it has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with worldview, and if you were smarter, you would have known that.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  185. Oliver

    Conservatives find happiness through their devotion to God, family, and an unwavering commitment to their country.
    Liberals loathe the assertion that they are not the supreme all-knowing beings of the universe, treat family as if it were the unfortunate end result of winnowing through a field of anonymous lovers, and ungratefully treat the same country that has provided them with unparalleled freedoms with a vitriol normally reserved for Nazi Germany.
    That's why conservatives are more happy than liberals.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  186. cody

    I believe that the answer is in the word: conservative.
    Conservatives are by nature the people who are happy with the status quo. They want to conserve it. Liberals are the people who are not happy with it and want to change it. I don't know if this logic extends to other countries, but, in general, it definitely makes sense in the USA.
    I am a liberal, I think, but it truth, both are probably needed to keep a sane balance.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  187. JAVA

    Because they have no idea what is going on in this world. Give them their guns and lie to them about about cutting taxes and they are happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  188. Robert DeLeys

    It's simple. Conservatives are just too stupid to even recognize inequality, much less contemplate it.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  189. warren

    conservatives are happy because their nomination is in place...liberals, on the other hand are still waiting for their warhorse. once the democratic nomination is decided, liberals will feel better.


    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  190. Jim Coughlin

    It wouldn't surprise me to learn that people without any interest in politics were happier than conservatives or liberals. I know plenty of conservatives who are unhappy that liberal laws infringe upon their freedom, but someone starving to death across the globe will never ever bother them. One conservative friend doesn't understand why anyone would ever do anything charitable ever. He's fairly happy I suppose. The next study could compare fulfillment and happiness. Are conservatives ever fulfilled? Is Dick Cheney fulfilled? I doubt it.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  191. Lilly, Bowling Green, KY

    Conservatives are happy because they are still advocating the American Dream. Work hard, you'll get ahead. Liberals want to share the poverty, reward sloth and mediocrity, and disincentivise hard work and innovation. The American Dream isn't about having it handed to you on a silver platter, which is why Liberals are so unhappy – they want it all without working for it. These entitlement programs, and the instant gratification this country is addicted to is the reason for the deficits. Hanging the blame around one person's neck, namely W's, is also a habit we have to get out of and take some personal responsibiliy for our own failures that have contributed our "leaders" bad decisions. Nobody that would do a good job as President these days is dumb enough to want the job.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  192. Bryan

    It is not ignorance or wealth (which is found scattered amongst both groups). "Conservatives" are conservative and believe the current way is the best way. "Liberals" are actually progressives. They envision a better world and seek to achieve it. Because they see the current situation as less than ideal, they are somewhat less happy.

    Both groups have a point, but I prefer the progressive mindset that gives up a little happiness in order to envision a potentially brighter future.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  193. Jessica

    When was this new study performed? If I were a conservative over the past 7-8 years, I would probably be "happier" than I have been as my very liberal self!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  194. John Galt

    What is is very strange about the current state of affairs is that the policies that most people dislike Bush for are do to his failure to observe conservative principles (less government) because a conservative would never spend the country into a recession and spend billions to install democracy in another country.

    To those of you who state that conservatives are happier because they have all the money or because they are stupid, you just don't get it and you never will. I am a conservative and I guarantee that I am a million times smarter than you are and I don't have very much money (because the government takes it all).

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  195. Josh

    I think all the angry posts by liberals speak for the accuracy of the poll.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  196. Ashley in Maryland

    Denial, Jack. Conservatives are in denial.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  197. Green Diva Meg

    i think the reasoning stated – that conservatives have a better ability to rationalize inequality – is probably the core issue and dead on. it's a function of denial, a tidy way to avoid the messiness of the realities of the often tragic iniquities in our current culture/society.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  198. Ted from Bethesda, MD

    Cause liberals are all gay, and its hard to be happy when you take it in the butt.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  199. Patrick Kane


    Just by reading the comments others are making, it is clear how angry one side is...and how divided we are. I think it would be interesting for you to get researchers to study the impact of negative campaigning on the mindset of hardliners within a party. For example, has Moveon.org caused its own party to become bitter and focused on finding the negative in everything the opposition does.

    Deeply concerning.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  200. Stefan

    This is hardly a scientific study, and just because someone "says" that they are happy does not mean that they are. Perhaps it is beacuse one side feels it is more important to be perceived as happy, and one side is more honest that there is always room for improvement.

    What about those of us that are neither flaming-liberals or money-grubbing-conservatives? I guess you'd need to count me as a very happy independent, who realizes that there is always room for more happiness.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  201. Linda

    I can see where the lack of social consciousness that plagues most conservatives would lead to a perceived happiness. When you're busy grabbing as much as you possibly can for yourself you don't have the time or inclination to concern yourself with others – except to talk a good line about it and then criticize those who are actually trying to make the world a better place for all. Hmmm...sounds a lot like Bush, Cheney, Snow, Limbaugh, Coulter, Robertson, LeBreaux, Sununu, and every other Republithug in this country. I would still be interested in knowing the methodology behind this study. Sounds a lot like that study about conservatives donating more than liberals. When the bogus methodology was exposed it turned out the opposite was true – and the doc who did the study (supposedly independent) turned out to be a hard core conservative. The liberals I know are MUCH happier than the bitter, racist conservatives we meet.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  202. Ozgur Sahin, Minnesota

    Conservatives tend to situate the causes of suffering (and happiness) on the interior (i.e. within the suffering or happy person), whereas liberals tend to situate causes on the exterior (something out there in the social environment). Time Magazine calls conservatives and liberals the "interiorists and the exteriorists," and they borrow the term from Ken Wilber (see youtube video on integral politics). So not only are they more likely to situate the cause of the suffering of OTHERS on something going on WITHIN those others, but they are more likely to situate the causes of their OWN suffering on something within themselves, and take responsibility for DOING something about it. This is one positive side of the outlook–there are negatives as well.

    There is a definite sense of entitlement within liberal camps though. Waiting around for the social environment (i.e. society) to come up with solutions for their suffering. This is a negative side–there are positives too, like finding solutions for actual social injustices. Both sides need to be balanced for any real synthesis of truths to happen, but when looking at the very partial views of both liberals and conservatives, it becomes very clear why conservatives are usually happier.

    It is also true that "meritocracy" is something only some conservatives believe in–there are a lot of fundamentalist conservatives who basically believe in a more aristocratic social structure. Meritocracy is something the "Wall Street Republicans" believe in, as well as some of the objectivist sort of liberals. Either way, meritocracy is at the heart of the Constitution and thus those who believe in it are generally happier as a whole because it is the social norm and they don't have to look around much for a legal support mechanism for their beliefs.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  203. Dan

    Most conservatives don't question anything, thus they tend to believe things...ie Christianity...basically so that they don't have to think.

    Liberals are the ones on the front lines making change and helping people and see the struggles of the less fortunate day in and day out and realize how much injustice and inequalities there are in the world and try to make them better.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  204. Bill in New London, CT

    It's simple, Jack. Liberals see all the injustice and pain and toil and strife in the world and worry and try to make a difference. Conservatives only have to worry about THEMSELVES, and they're doing pretty well for THEMSELVES aren't they?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  205. Mike Roberts

    Well, the study was done in 2006. 6 years of Bush screwups brings people down. Conservatives tend to lie alot about a lot of things. How many "conservative" representatives of the so-called "family values" do a lot more talking than walking.
    They thought the world was coming to an end when Clinton was and office and groaned how they were losing their rights "almost daily".

    So how they answer the question is not neccesarily true.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  206. T.G. Wright Durham, N.C.

    Remember Jack, these are people who still believe that Sadam was responsible for 9/11, that there is no evidence of global warning, that Barack Obama is Muslim, and that the economy is strong and getting stronger. Rush Limbaugh tells them to be happy and voila; instant bliss. Were it that reality was so simple.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  207. steven harnack

    adages are adages because the ideas expressed have bourne the test of time and the adage that comes immediately to mind is"ignorance is bliss".

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  208. Rob, Cincinnati Ohio

    You bet. Rely upon yourself and quit looking to the government to solve all your troubles. Not looking to point fingers at everyone else helps keep one happier as well.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  209. Preston of Denver

    It's easy to be happy when you can simply dismiss everything you don't like as "liberal" without actually spending any time thinking about it. Throw in another vote for ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  210. John R.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    People are happier when they know less. The change can be seen from innocent childhood as one matures to adulthood–life gets more complicated.

    On average, conservatives are more ignorant of the world around them. That's why college campuses (particularly Ivy Leagues and the better ones) lean liberal–they have wider world views.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  211. Wilson

    Conservatives are happier because they are content with what they have. Liberals are always dissatisfied with the fact that you have to work to obtain wealth.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  212. Greg/PA

    I should think it would be obvious. Liberals care about the welfare of the less fortunate and Conservatives don't.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  213. Jeffrey

    Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  214. Jerry

    Look when this poll was taken; 2006, George W. Bush was president. Conservatives had their lackie in office. Of course they were happier. Do this poll again when Barack Obama is president.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  215. Jes

    Because liberals seems permanent angry, and is always complaining about something. The comments on this blog proves this point.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  216. Kim, Paris, Tennessee

    Isn't it funny how the Conservatives always say the Dems are looking for a handout, bigger government and all the standard reterick, when the Conservatives always turn to God for guidance.

    Isn't asking for favoritism from God a handout? And when was the last time in recent history God balanced the budget? When's the last time God sent out stimulus checks to jump start the economy? Sorry folks, but like it or not it was government intervention that did that, not Gods intervention.

    The Dems are willing to pay for structure to make their life more fulfilled, I don't remember any Democrat asking for something for free.

    Taxes finance everything in this country and I have never heard of a special law that says Democrats don't have to pay taxes! If there was all the Conservatives would be on the Democratic bandwagon!

    Seems to me the closest thing to God we've had in a very long time was President Clinton!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  217. TERRI

    I am ultra-conservative and not very happy! I am disappointed that McCain is the "best " my party has to offer. We need a hot shot youngster like BO! Unfortunately in my conservative party there is this undisclosed right of passage much like a Catholic looking to be appointed to POPE. If your not darn near dead...the party doesn't recognize you.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  218. George

    Liberals focus on the way they would like the world to be whereas conservatives are focused on the way the world is. When you wrap yourself up in pursuing a world view that can never be attained you will never achieve happiness. Therefore they constantly feel frustration when they look at the world around them which leads to their unhappiness. Lucky for most liberals they come from a priveledged background so these issues that they are so concerned with will never effect them anyways.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  219. Brian

    They're happier because they've gotten their way the last 8 years, even if their way is not the fair way

    May 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  220. John P. Falzarano

    Ya Jack if you were a republican you would be happy with war with no reasons. On this date and time. Now come back and ask this same question 4 years from now and see how the Democrats react to this same stupid question during no wars. Now who happier!

    Respectfully Miserable!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  221. Michael

    " Mind is a terrible thing to waste"; conservatives use their mind and intellect for what they are made.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  222. Tom

    I'd be curious to see over which time period this data was gathered. It would seem to me that individuals of one political leaning will tend to feel happier when somebody they support is in the White House. If all of this data was taken during the Bush administration, wouldn't it be unsurprising that self-described liberals would feel less happy in general, while conservatives would feel more happy.

    Ask the same questions during the Bill Clinton Presidency, and I wouldn't be surprised if liberals would have been "happier than conservatives".

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  223. Jon

    I worked all those jobs Dems say Americans won’t do to pay for my education. I work three jobs now to put money in the bank, stay out of debt, and plan for the future. In other words, I take care of myself and my own and I have never asked for a handout. I started out with less than most. I am happy. I am happy because I work for what I have. What’s to be unhappy about? If you don’t have it, you didn’t earn it and it’s not my problem. Face it. Someone has to be the janitor. Someone has to flip the burgers. If you won’t work your way out of those positions, tough luck. The only thing that makes me unhappy is big government reaching into my pockets so they can give what I have worked for to people who sit on their backsides waiting for handouts.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  224. Jim

    Liberals are unhappy because the world does not work the way they envision it - perfect equality, nobody should ever suffer in any way, people should not be accountable for their choices, and so forth. Conservatives give much more of their own money to charity while liberals want to give away other people's money. Liberals are slow learners - poverty is primarily caused by bad choices, such as having a child at 13, dropping out of school, becoming addicted to drugs. Personal responsibility - this is an apostacy for liberals. The best way to help poor people is reduce entitlements and teach people it is not government's job to take care of people who make bad choices.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  225. Adam

    Of course conservatives are happier. They are already fat and dumb, why not make it a trifecta.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  226. Sam

    Sam Rahway, NJ.

    Because they are brain dead.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  227. David Reynolds

    I think what skewed the results here is that they asked Rush Limbaugh these questions while he was high.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  228. j to the ohn

    A reported "happiness" does not equal true happiness. I live in Jefferson City, MO and am an island of liberalism surrounded by a sea of conservatism. I find that many of the people around me do rationalize quite a bit and do seem to be "happy," but that happiness is paper thin and doesn't stand up very well to direct criticism; I think they are hiding more than they are showing, but of course I am biased. As for myself, I do find myself troubled by the inequalities of the world, but at the same time I embrace life and find that feeling inequalities rather than rationalizing them makes me feel a broader range of emotions and I consider myself a happy person because I feel the inequalities of the world, not in spite of them.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  229. Phill

    Obvious, conservatives hold all the securities and an even greater reason is that IGNORANCE IS BLISS!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  230. Steve Clark

    Facts are Facts, JACK!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  231. Candice LA, CA

    How exactly did the conservatives create the economic mess? It was a result of people living beyond their means and buying houses with no money down and knowing that their interest rates would jump later. Then complaining when it happened. Democrats again wanting the gov't to bail them out when they can't think for themselves. And now I have to pay for it???? I don't think so!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  232. Daset from Bowie, MD

    Just goes to show you, ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  233. Adam Dorsey

    I think it may be because conservatives have found peace in the circumstances they live under. Liberals are fighting the windmills of that same circumstance.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  234. Greg, Harrisburg PA

    As a young conservative, I am happy because of the satisfaction I get out of my own personal achievements. I don't want or need "Big Brother" doing things for me. My parents (who love me very much) don't want to support me my whole life, why should the government?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  235. Paolo

    Of course, there is happiness in ignorance! Makes perfectly sense.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  236. Mark in El Paso

    Smug, self-righteous and with moral certiude. If this is happiness, I'll be grumpy thank you.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  237. Ryan

    Appeal to a conservative's sense of justice about the Jena 6, global warming, corporate control of media, unjust wars in the middle east, the idiotic war on drugs, or any number of other hot-button issues, and generally the response will be "So what?" Show a missing white girl on the television and then they'll pay attention, especially if an immigrant or minority is accused of the crime.

    Why shouldn't they be happier than liberals? Their world view is dramatically smaller.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  238. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    Conservatives are happy for a while thinking that hard work will get you to where you want to be. Sooner or later they will see that it's not what you know, but rather who you know. Liberals are skeptical from the beginning about the political society we live in. They aren't impressed with the work hard theory. They know if you don't have friends or family in high places that you won't get far. Happiness comes from ignorance or from kissing the right butt at the right time.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  239. Anibal

    The idea that individual success in capitalism and the free market is solely based on individual performance and "thinking by ones self" is the biggest fallacy of the 20st century. There will always be losers in capitalism. Full employment is impossible in capitalism thus poverty is inevitable hence the need of the government to help those who are "loosing" in the system. Conservatives tend to be the winners in this system outside for many in the working class who base their conservatism mainly on social and not on economic issues. Conservatives believe that economic success is based on hard work thus the happiness if you have enough money! Over 60% of those in poverty work full time! Liberals worry about these realities and inherent unfairnesses of the market system while conservatives don;t.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  240. David Cooper

    I believe the study is dead on ,its the conservatives who remind us all money is not everything in life. Oh! but wait I forgot they have all the money, as for work hard and you will move up the company ladder ,Ha! if you believe that one then keep working for the man who has all his kids,nephews,friends of friends ect....moving past you at light speed for quote unquote working hard. On a final note no not all conservatives are rich but as far as the rationalization goes,dead on! Bye the way I voted for President Bush"s two terms in office trying to rationalize like a conservative,boy! what a mess were in as a country and yet are friends are content to say everything is smellin like roses. I for one doubt I will ever vote republican again!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  241. Larry Mazzocco Avon Lake, Ohio

    Starting with Reagan, the modern conservative movement has stood for three things; fear, greed, and ignorance. That third plank explains this study. Let's hope that it has finally run it's course.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  242. George V from MD

    It's simple: conservatives are content with using solid ideas that already exist, whilst liberals constantly fret about how to do things differently so somebody's feelings don't get hurt. It's "the winner gets a trophy" vs. "let's give everyone the same trophy so little Johnny doesn't feel inadequate for the rest of his life and shoot people in 30 years."

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  243. Will Wells - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    When Caffetry writes that conservatives rationalize gaps within society, I think he means justify. There is no rational reason to conservative "logic", just justifications that allow them to see themselves as superior and those below them as inferior. They are happy only because they don't think about, accept or even care to delve into the problems that plague not only the United States but humanity. If a conservative truly believes that the reason all of the millions of millions of poor families in the United States are poor because of a lack of hard work and "moral" convictions, they are delusional. The majority of the families are poor and "not happy", because of the system conservatives have put in place that ensure the poor are kept down while the rich get richer. And finally, am I the only one that finds it ironic that Jack Caffetry a man who in May of 2003 pleased guilty to a hit and run a bicyclist is happy? Then again, he only got fined $250 and received 70 hours of community service. If he was some "yuppy liberal" I'm sure that would have been different. SO I guess that's a reason to be happy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  244. Jay from Dallas, TX

    I am not sure if I buy the numbers; conservatives don't have any compassion, feeling or empathy for anyone else but themselves, so it is easier to be happy. Their racist, bigoted and prejudices views makes it very easy for them to be 'fat dumb and happy' with themselves; they solve all their problems with war and fear mongering, making others think and worry about real problems.

    Thank God for liberals or there wouldn't be any social or philantrhopic institutions (without ulterior motives for the conservative ones), or the potential that someday there will be true equality and justice for all.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  245. Jeremy

    Many conservatives do not resent people who have greater success than them unlike most liberals. They do not look for conspiracies and made up prejudices around every corner. Conservaties believe you earn what you get, not that your entitled to everything via a government hand out.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  246. Ryan

    smells like propaganda. i wonder who financed this study

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  247. John from Illinois

    The reason that conservatives seem happier than liberals is because they are able to detach their emotions from feeling the pain and suffering that their fellow humans are enduring. They believe that bad consequences are always the result of bad choices, and therefore if you are suffering, you brought it upon yourself by making a bad choice. For example, when the Indonesian tsunami killed 300,000 people, the right-wingers blamed it on the country's embrace of Islam.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  248. August, Hillsborough NJ

    Gee. My comment did not even get posted yet people that use fould language and make stupid statements are posted. What are your rules on posting? Good comments don't make it but stupid things do? What happened to my comment at 3:17? I think I am done with you guys. I will not waste my time again. You should be ashamed.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  249. Rickey

    Can't help but weigh in on this. Conservatives fail to see the big picture as to how it afffects others. They just see how things affect their status and those like them. They tend find simple and easy answers to problems without a grasp of the consequences. The present administration in Washington is a great example of this as well as the one in Texas. Conseervatives simplify everyhting to the lowest common demoninator. Think back to Barry Godlwater and Senator McCarthy extreme examples, but they could simplfy everything with a real quick solution. Liberals are less happy becasue they want to eliminate the injustices and worry why in this country of immense wealth we cannot solves many of the problems.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  250. Dave

    It's about thinking with optimism. That is the key. Simple to conservatives while inconceivable to liberals.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  251. Tom/Boston

    CONSERVATIVES ARE HAPPIER! Because we know hard work will be rewarded and we're too busy working to be concerned with what the bleeding heart liberals call "injustices".

    May 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  252. Bob Fitzgerald

    I've read a bunch of your commenters. Did you want to a partisan hack when you started out or is that the only thing you could do to pay your bills.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  253. julio

    Someone believed them, thats funny i guess that means liberals are smarter, just not handed everything on a silver plate..

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  254. Marc

    Ignorance is bliss. Conservative thinking is self-centered thinking. As long as their lives are in order then they don't think much about the lives of others. Liberals tend to look at the bigger picture and are frustrated that our fellow americans can't live off their minimum wage jobs or afford to pay for proper healthcare. In a nutshell conservatives live in a bubble that as long as all is well inside this bubble they could care less what's going on outside. I lived with a conservative roommate who had very strong conservative ideals until he became disabled and ran into the bureaucratic nightmare of our healthcare system. Talk to him now and his views towards healthcare are very liberal. Then there's the other thing that makes conservatives happy called blind faith.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  255. Corey/Port Saint Lucie, FL

    The way I see it, most conservatives have a religious base. And I think that most people use religion as a answer for anything they can't understand or can't comprehend. Instead of asking "Why?" and struggling to find the truth, its much more comforting to say "God will take care of all, I do not need to worry. All will be well in the end." It dulls the hell out of the human spirit if you ask me.

    And in the end? All religion is at its root is a smoke screen to mask humankinds fear of death.

    Don't be afraid. Live life and never stop asking "Why."

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  256. Natalie

    Check with the limosine liberals. They have plenty of money. So those of you labeling conservatives as rich should take another look around. I am a conservative and certainly not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but why isn't it okay to be happy with what you have?

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  257. Fred

    Two reasons conservatives think they're happier:

    1) If you're not angry, you're not paying attention!

    2) ignorance is bliss!

    Mesa, Arizona

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  258. CP in MO

    How to tick off a liberal – work hard and be happy.

    Conservatives work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Liberals stay home, live off the fruits of the conservatives’ labor and complain that they are not getting their ‘fair share’.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  259. Peter-TX

    don't know Jack, I am an independent, you tell me.



    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  260. Kerro

    I love how all of the liberals on here spew out the hate they do. It just proves that this study must be true...just look how unhappy they are posting in the comments section.

    Oh, and get your facts straight. Those that identify themselves as republicans give more money to charities than those that identify themselves as democrats.

    See the difference is we do something to help people in need, while others whine about it then ask what the government is going to do to help. Then instead of working to help give money to those in need, they take off work and protest.

    I have a idea....how about get a job or two and work to help build your local community into a better place.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  261. Mary Jo, Scranton, PA

    I don't believe conservatives are actually happier than liberals, no matter what some study concludes. I believe that conservatives simply draw their smiles out of a deep well of Denial. They drink a cup of that liquid bull @#$% every morning with their coffee, reminding themselves that they earned it, and everyone else is just lazy.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  262. David Reynolds

    I think what skewed the results here is that they asked Rush Limbaugh these questions while he was high.

    David Reynolds
    Palmdale, CA

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  263. Fred

    Very understanding because liberal was the one got caught cheating on his wife!! On the other hand, conservative tends to stick with the plan... the word itself.. conservative means as to be conserved. Pretty straight forward!!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  264. red33,cedar rapids, ia

    In regard to all of the statements made by libs written here, stating how Bush has screwed up everything, let me remind you of who has the power in congress???????? Who overrides vetoes, when they really should be allowed to stand? Get real; the 'dems' are in control; that is why things are not going so well. This is an inconvenient truth, sadly..
    P.S. When Clinton got so much credit for a good economy, he inherited it just coming on from the former pres...........AND the republicans were in congress. Maybe you folks should get the real picture here.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  265. Rainy in Ohio

    It's simple......Conservatives understand how the world "really" works; "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

    May 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  266. cn

    I have read many of the comments. My conclusion from these comments is that it seems like liberals are very hypocritical disgruntle people who likes to insult others and shows very little reasoning. Perhaps this is done out of momentary anger and in their wrong state of mind. They seem to think that it is okay for them to criticize others but it is not okay for others to criticize them. They seem to possess a self-righteousness above everyone else and they become unhappy when their self-righteous is challenged.

    Tried pulling out the log that is in your own eyes before pulling the splinter out of your neighbor's eyes.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  267. Gerry Brennan

    Because they win more!
    New Mexico

    May 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  268. Conservative C Charlotte NC

    Easy...most liberals are godless, self centered individuals. Studies show conservatives volunteer far more and donate far money than liberals too. Actually, other studies show people committed to Faith are much happier too. See...each person is born with a desire in their heart to be near God. We all have different experience but must ultimately decide if we want to follow God. That's the whole basis of Faith. When you do – life really is great. Really GREAT. I think liberals are miserable because the "psychological dissinance" of what's in their heart versus the path they choose. Anyway my two cents. I'm a conservative, got a great life and wouldn't trade it for the world!

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  269. MediaW.

    Hey Jack,
    I used to be a happy conservative Republican but now I'm a happy, inspired, hopeful, conservative Democrat.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  270. Deb Jones

    The answer is simple:
    Ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  271. Allan in Harrisburg, PA

    Pretty simple Jack; conservatives either can't see injustice, corruption (moral or otherwise) and hypocrisy or they simply choose to ignore it. What's the old saying, "ignorance is bliss?"

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  272. Greg

    Well, if you consider the ideas expressed here as facts, not to mention the spelling and punctuation, at the very least conservatives seem to be better informed.

    Do any of you libs actually look at raw data about where the wealth really is and who is the most charitable? I think maybe some research on your part in order.

    How many of you libs have written that ignorance is bliss? Are you ignorant of the fact that about 20 of your cohorts have already written that? Are you in bliss?


    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  273. Mark in IL

    liberals anticipate a utopian country in some kind of marxist version of reality where man is perfectable and society is perfectable if only we tax ourselves into enough government.

    conservatives, correctly, know that man is NOT perfect and never will and thus many of the liberal constructed government "plans" to "make society and humans better" is never going to "fix" society, it's only going to waste money

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  274. Rudolph from Vancouver, Canada

    Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  275. Anna Jesse

    Why are conservatives happy? Geez, did you ever know anyone who lives in LaaLaa Land who wasn't. The rest of us have to deal with reality.

    Anna Jesse
    Nanticoke, PA

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  276. J lee

    Ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  277. F. S. from MD.

    Conservative- set in their ways, do not expect much. So the bar is lower. Easier to reach !!!!
    Liberals- like change, improvements, want to get along with everyone, and their bar is "out of this world"!!!! Hey I'm a liberal. :-)))))

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  278. Travis from Williamsburg

    It seems simple to me Jack, when liberals are unhappy with something, we try to figure out a peaceful solution in a respectable manner where all parties win. When a conservative is unhappy about something, they shoot it, invade it or swift boat it.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  279. jay sherman

    Jack–You should change your far left radical liberal ways–You look angry all of the time & also try to get more sleep–The bags under seem to be getting bigger–Your independent party buddy–JAY

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  280. Randy in CO

    All of the conservative bashing here seems to reinforce the studies finding. But what do I know, I'm just part of that hate mongering, ignorant and racist bunch of idiots that somehow win all the elections.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  281. Jacquie

    Why are all of my pro-Hillary comments being deleted? Hillary deserved this nomination and would have won it already if the democrats apportioned delegates the same way the republicans do. Jack just made the comment that he enjoys all the debate, but that must only apply when HIS view tops others.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  282. Dan Merrillville, Indiana

    When looking at why conservatives are happier than liberals, one ought to look at the psychological issues involved. It is not about conservatives versus liberals but rather altruism versus egoism. We liberals suffer because we are sympathetic towards all people. This suffering makes us stronger and our virtues allow us to endure.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  283. don scholtes park Ridge NJ

    It seemems to me that conservatives have a very limited criteria to choose from ,In granting themselves happiness.there are thoes who get happiness by giving. and there are thoese that get happiness from receiving.I as a liberal get happiness from helping veterans forgoten by this administration. I guess the conservatives receive it from knowing that their ideas are the only ones that are right regardless of who they hurt.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  284. daisy

    Conservatives are in denial.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  285. Sarah, Galway, NY

    Jack, these studies just says conservatives are more likely to SAY they're happy than liberals. Since conservatives are apparently better at rationalizing inequalities, perhaps they're also better at other forms of rationalization. Does convincing yourself that you're happy mean that you are?

    May 9, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  286. Bert Juneau

    Well, they say ignorance is bliss.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  287. Jas

    It is easy to be happy, all you have to be is fool.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  288. Jay in DC

    By definition a conservative wishes to conserve the status quo. They are happy with the way things are, complacent in my opinion. A liberal and, by implication, a progressive wishes to progress beyond the status quo; they are not happy with the way things are. This is the only way society moves forward.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  289. Jon, Michigan

    I really don't think this is rocket science Jack. All this study does is show the growing disparity of wealth in this country. Conservatives tend to be far more wealthy than liberals, while liberals seem to far more caring and compassionate that conservatives.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for all that you do!

    May 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  290. sallylacovitzer

    I am from Springfield, Illinois. There are no true liberals. There are no true conservatives. Americans are hybrids. A conservative in Los Angeles, California is a liberal in Cutler, Maine.
    Your article would be perfect for the National Enquirer in the warm and fuzzy human interest story page. If you're not familiar with that page, it is just after the blue dot that one cuts out and keeps in one's wallet for good luck.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  291. Frank Johnson

    They are happy or they pretend to be happy. People who do not think about the consequences of their actions are happy? People who find pleasure in war and all kind of injustice are happy? Give me a break.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  292. John Barnhart - Georgetown Texas

    Jack it seems that many of your readers are as uninformed as they are unhappy. Being conservative does not mean that you resist change, are intolerant of others or don't trust the government.

    Conservative people are very much like the ant in the story of the Grasshopper and the Ant. We make what we believe to be sensible preparations for hard times and warn others to do the same. We work hard, we save, we conserve. While liberals tend to accept what ever comes without care or thoughtful preparation. Then when hard times take hit they expect those who worked hard for what they have to then take pity on them and ignore their foolishness and bail them out while they whine and moan about how bad life is.

    They want low price gas but they don't want us to drill any new wells or build new refineries. They want low cost alternative powered cars but don't want the automakers to profit. They want alternative energy but they don't want anyone to build an alternative solar or wind power station near them.

    Conservatives are happy because we are realists, liberals are unhappy because they are not.

    I think Winston Churchill said it best, if you are not liberal when you are young you don't have a heart, if you are not conservative when you are older you don't have a brain.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  293. Joel Dulashanti

    You know I am a liberal and don't agree with anything that was stated in that journal I am also black and don't see things the way most black people do. I believe that the study should probably be called whites vs. blacks. If that's racists maybe that would explain the title of the study...the perceptive vs. the imprudent? Having come from a family that optimizes what it means to be in low economic class and have had the luxury of having friends that weren't. I noticed things like the differences in high school cirriculums in wgaes and the types of jobs, and what types of things people spend their money on and the reason behind it. I think overall though, it is relative to the people and the perceptions of the people are far least easily group in political parties.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  294. Robert

    "Liberals loathe the assertion that they are not the supreme all-knowing beings of the universe, treat family as if it were the unfortunate end result of winnowing through a field of anonymous lovers, and ungratefully treat the same country that has provided them with unparalleled freedoms with a vitriol normally reserved for Nazi Germany.
    That’s why conservatives are more happy than liberals."

    If I could get my hands on this conservative, I'd be one happy liberal

    May 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  295. Kevin from Seattle

    Subjective question, obviously. "Haves" vs. "Have-Nots". If I'm comfortable with what I have, does it make me a conservative? If I'm not happy with those who don't have what they need, does that make me a liberal? If we ever get past labels and address root causes for what divides us as a nation, we'd have no need for provocative surveys like this.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  296. Brandon


    This is such a dumb question and only continues to promote a general division in this country. First of all, how could any organization actually quantify a study like this. How can you measure happiness? By that measure, how can a news organization or a consumer of news actually measure the underlying intent of this press release? In my experience, Americans are more complex than just the fitting into either a definition of a liberal or a conservative. The more the media, politicians, or yourself continue to pander to this passively partisan crap, the longer it will take to unravel this oversimplification of the American psyche. You have such an opportunity in your visible role at CNN – why don't you rise above the pandering and divisional back-biting and do something more positive with it.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  297. Jacob, CT


    "Ignorance is bliss" would certainly do a great job in summing it up in a nutshell, but here's my thoughts:

    People need to understand the vast differences between the two sides...You have the conservatives who are more or less content with what they because they have all the money on their side. And then you have the liberals, who are upset because the utopia they try to shape is not quite coming together for them.

    In the end, both sides will have their ups & downs and whether it involves happiness, or actually getting something achieved is up to the people.

    Age 13

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  298. T

    you completely cut my out moderator! yeah im talking to you. I guess my comments were to good for you liberals to let get out on the web. I bet your thinking ... this guy made some sense, we can't have him out there making sense and making us look as dumb as we are..... hehe

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  299. plez...

    conservatives tend to be more selfish and are more concerned with their own being and possessions.

    liberals tend to be more self-less and are more concerned about the welfare of others beyond their own being.

    when you are concerned about others and truly feel for their misery, it is far more difficult to have a happy or optimistic outlook on life.

    lithonia, georgia

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  300. Victor T

    Not only are conservatives happier ... they are also the most charitable. Google it.

    I will give you my answer and my wife's (I'm an agnostic conservative, by the way): because conservatives value personal liberty and personal ... "responsibility". We don't look to others to improve our lives, or specifically, any government. So ... if we're let alone and not overtaxed, we're generally happy.

    Liberals look to government for programs and remedies and therein lies their core problem: with few exceptions ... government is inefficient and inept.

    The numbers don't lie.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  301. Fredrick Ford

    For quite some time I've felt that people with low intelligence are not as bothered by inequalities, etc. Possibly this makes them happier than people with higher intelligence. Does this mean that Conservatives are less intelligent and are therefore happier?? We currently have a Conservative in the White House. I rest my case.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  302. Jim Corbin

    Maybe the real reason for all this is to keep us fighting with one another so we don't see how badly we are getting ripped off by congress and corporate America.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  303. Kevin

    Conservatives are independent and provide for themselves while liberals are dependent on the nanny state and provide nothing for themselves. It is hard to be happy when you are not independent.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  304. Thomas

    To be a conservative means you're the kind of person that can ignore a lot of problems of the poor and unfortunate people in this country. You have to be only concern with yourself to support what Bush and company have been shoveling. They're as happy as an ostrich with it's head in the sand.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  305. John Hardy

    Jack....I have found that the difference is as simple as the lack of concern about the future!...The fact that we are told to "Trust in the Lord with all thy might and lean not on our own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths....... Those of faith are much more likely to be Republicans. Isn't that true ? I also believe that we are much more of a giving people (Our own finances ,time and talents)..Consequently happier.... Surely there's a pole on both of those statements. ....There's a pole on everything else....I don't pretend to know the thoughts and minds of my Democratic friends. Their is only one basic issue however that I cannot accept . If abortion is not in the mix I could easily be vote for a Democrat...

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  306. john traver

    Going back to the original definition of conservative, it means you do not want change. By definition you are happy with the government and the world.

    I am a liberal, and want to improve the U.S. and the world. I am unhappy with a lot of things. Lets see, the war in Iraq, health care, the environment, high taxes on the middle class and low taxes on the filthy rich, the value of the dollar, lack of control over imports. If I listed everything, you would not have time to list them on TV.

    JHT from Maplewood Minnesota

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  307. Andy

    The venom in the responses, from the all caring liberals, really says it all.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  308. Larry, El Paso

    Okay, let's generalize.

    Liberals are basically unhappy because they see life and the world as being unfair, and they cannot get past that harsh truth. They want it all fixed, although most of them, in my experience, are not really up to the task themselves – and not willing to potentially sacrifice some of their own wealth or securities so that others could be better off.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, also see life as unfair, but that it just is, was and will always be. Rather than complain about it, especially knowing they mostly live nearer the top of the food chain anyway, they accept it and enjoy their short lives to a greater extent and thus are "happier" for having done so.

    Beyond generalizing, the real fact is we ALL have a bit of both of these perspectives within us. It's simply a matter of which we each choose to allow to control us.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  309. sean

    The conservative (neo-conservative) world view is built on a foundation of lies and misrepresentations. They rationalize the world around them in terms of black and white and it makes it much easier to look past injustice, poverty, suffering, pain etc. Y, know, all the stuff their hero Jesus was talking about getting rid of. If you want to see the ultimate example of a conservative government working on all cylinders, look at the last 8 years. That is what happens when you predicate all your actions on lies and rigid ideology- abject failure and dysfunction. Still I'm POSITIVE there are conservatives out there who will say, "what?, what, the last 8 years have been great!?" True conservatives are excellent at denying reality and the complexity of the human experience. This leads them to be deep pathological liars, not only to themselves but all around them, in order to maintain the illusion that things really are as simple as they would like to believe.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  310. Mike

    If you look at these posts the answer is clear.....Republicans (who display proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar), generally have the education and training to become positive members of society, while Democrats (who display second-grade English skills) lament their failure to pay attention in English class.

    May 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm |