The uber-wealthy date on "Millionairematch," geeks go to "Nerdpassions" and Jewish singles hang out on "Jdate." And now, young politicos in Washington have their own online dating service — RedStateDate(aimed at Republicans) and BlueStateDate (aimed at Democrats) — where they can find potential matches who share their political views.
A month after launch, the national sites are "pushing well into the thousands" of members, according to digital ad man JD Beebe, who co-founded BlueStateDate and RedStateDate with friends Alex Fondrier and Francois Briard.
And since Election Day, the founders have watched the Republican site become more popular than its Democratic counterpart. "The presidential upset may have something to do with that," Beebe says.
The service has been particularly popular with women living in Washington D.C., which has the highest women to men ratio in the country at 112:100, and moreso with conservative women. "It's tougher for a conservative gal in Washington than for a liberal gal," says Beebe, who believes conservative women may feel outnumbered in D.C. President Barack Obama carried 91.4 percent of the popular vote in the city this election.
A video promoting RedStateDate gives a window into how strongly some conservatives in Washington may feel about dating outside their political preference. "There's something you ought to know about Jen," a man tells a conservative friend who thought he had found a great match, only to find out: "She's a liberal." Cue the scary music, and then the political cliches: "She spent the last three years working for Greenpeace... Her Thanksgiving turkey is made of soy... And she voted for Dennis Kucinich," the man tells his conservative friend, who begins to cry.
A video for BlueStateDate plays just as harshly on stereotypes about dating a Republican: the man in the video eats Chick-Fil-A, has a Sarah Palin cell phone background, and carries a gun.
But while the service emphasizes stereotypes, there's also a science behind its matchmaking. Political compatibility is measured in part by the service's daily straw polls, which determine whether the user is fiscally conservative but socially liberal, or how the user feels about the foreign policy issues of the day. Beebe says the service has faced criticism for adding to the partisan divide that already exists in Washington. "Keep this up, and we're headed for a world in which Democrats and Republicans view intermarriage the way the Hasidic do," the Daily Beast's Megan McArdle wrote of politically segregated dating in October. But Beebe says Red and BlueStateDate are responding to popular demand.
"The James Carville/Mary Matalin issue comes up almost daily, and we know that love comes on both sides of the aisle," says Beebe, referencing the Washington power couple who vote two different ways. "But there's a niche of people out there that want to share the same political views as their partner... who are looking for someone as invested and politically involved as they are."