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Several recent studies, moreover, have shown that people on online dating sites likewise exhibit strong racial preferences.In a new paper, my colleagues — Ashton Anderson, Greg Huber, Neil Malhotra, and Duncan Watts — and I investigate how these racial preferences relate to political attitudes.Conservatives, that is, are not simply more selective in general, but rather exhibit a specific interest in race.

To investigate the relationship between political ideology and racial preferences, we examined member profiles of over 250,000 heterosexual users of a popular online dating site.

Strikingly, even among political moderates, the majority (52%) of white women declare at least a weak (“nice to have”) preference to date someone of their own race.

By contrast, about one-fifth of moderate white men state a “nice to have” same-race preference.

Though explicit racism is likely also a factor — as highlighted by the backlash against Cheerios for airing a commercial featuring an interracial couple — it is by no means the only one.

Daniel Reeves is a co-founder of Beeminder and Sharad Goel is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research - New York City.

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