Political Opposites Do Not Attract: The Effects of Ideological Dissimilarity on Impression Formation


  • Stephanie R. Mallinas
  • Jarret T. Crawford
  • Shana Cole


Past research shows that people like others who are similar to themselves, and that political partisans tend to dislike those with opposing viewpoints. Two studies examined how initial person impressions changed after discovering that the target held similar or dissimilar political beliefs. Using potential mates as targets, we found that participants liked targets less, were less romantically interested in targets, and rated targets as less attractive after discovering political dissimilarity with them. Further, they became more uncomfortable with targets after discovering ideological dissimilarity. Theoretical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.