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PRINCETON, NJ - L is for the way you look at me…O is for the only one I see…
That's the way the classic song goes, but as we all know, love is far more complicated than that. On Valentine's Day 2000, a new Gallup poll finds that while Americans tend to believe there is such a thing as "one true love," only half believe that love can be found at first sight.
The new Gallup poll finds that 52% of Americans believe in "love at first sight" -- and a closer look at the results may help disprove one or two stereotypes about love.
First -- the notion that men are not nearly as romantic as women would have us believe they are. Gallup's findings show that 55% of men believe in love at first sight, compared to 49% of women. There are few educational or income differences in the results, although regionally, those living in the Midwest tend to believe in love at first sight less than do those in other parts of the country.
However, the image of two idealistic, headstrong young lovers may not be just a stereotype. Six out of ten people between the ages of 18 and 29 believe in "love at first sight," and the percentages drop with age. Among those aged 30-49, 56% believe in love at first sight, compared to 45% of those 50-64 and 41% of those over 65.
The fantasy of "love at first sight" begins to pale in the harsh, cold light of reality, though. When asked whether they have ever actually fallen in love with someone at first sight, just 40% of Americans say yes, with 59% saying no. However, among those who told Gallup interviewers that they believe in "love at first sight," 69% say they have actually experienced it.
Is There Someone Out There for Me?
Is there only one person we are destined to fall in love with? Americans think there is. Nearly three out of four Americans believe that there is "one true love" out there. Interestingly, this belief is high both among older Americans over the age of 65 (79%) -- perhaps because people in that age group are likely to have been married to the same person for many years -- and among young romantics between the ages of 18 and 29 (76%).
There is an interesting difference in belief in "one true love" by socioeconomic status. Those with higher incomes are less likely to believe in the concept than are those in lower income brackets. For example, while 84% of those earning less than $20,000 annually believe in "one true love," just 62% of those earning $75,000 or more annually do.
The Land of Opportunity? Maybe Not, When It Comes to
Are Americans different from those in other countries on these issues of love? Gallup asked respondents in Germany these same questions about love last summer. Despite the fact that some might see Germans as colder or more clinical in nature, and Americans as more emotional and outgoing, the data comparing these two countries don't bear out these stereotypes. When asked if they believed in "love at first sight," 77% of Germans answered yes, compared to 52% of Americans. On the question of whether there is "one true love," 85% of Germans answered yes, compared to 74% of Americans.
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,018 adults, 18 years and older, conducted February 4-6, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Do you believe in love at first sight, or not?
|2000 Feb 4-6||52%||47||1|
Have you ever fallen in love at first sight, or not?
|2000 Feb 4-6||40%||59||1|
Do you believe in the "one true love" or not?
|2000 Feb 4-6||74%||24||2|