Smile, you're in the GOP

Good news for Republicans: You are happier than Democrats. You always have been, and probably always will be.

That's according to new survey results from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

The pollsters were asking about happiness this month, a period when economic news was gloomy for everybody and presidential campaign news seemed especially baleful for Republicans. Yet they found 37 percent of Republicans are “very happy,” compared with 25 percent of Democrats; 51 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats are “pretty happy”; and 9 percent of Republicans are “not too happy,” compared with 20 percent of Democrats.

The partisan happiness gap – unbroken for nearly four decades – has persisted regardless of which party holds the White House.

When you control for other variables, a Republican is 13 percent or 7 percent more likely to be very happy than a Democrat, depending on the statistical model, says Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Social & Demographic Trends project.

In country after country, happiness studies find that “conservatives” are happier than “liberals.”

“The question is not whether Republicans are happier than Democrats, or conservatives are happier than liberals,” says Arthur Brooks, author of “Gross National Happiness” and incoming president of the American Enterprise Institute. “The question is, why?”

Pew found that Democrats are more likely to say that success in life is mostly determined by outside forces. Republicans lean toward thinking that success is determined by one's own efforts.