Millions of Americans followed the twists and turns of the US election, cheering on their preferred candidate and arguing with family, friends and complete strangers about Hillary Clinton's emails and Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric. Many were so engrossed, it appears they put their love lives on hold.
The number of Americans who registered on mobile dating app Tinder slumped 20% during the last three months of 2016, and the trend continued into early 2017, according to Greg Blatt, CEO of Tinder-owner Match Group. "The election actually had a pretty profound impact on...viewing habits", he told analysts on the company's recent earnings call.
Tinder also saw a jump in registrations and usage in states where Trump won, and declines in both metrics in states that he lost. "[The election] has definitely caused a little bit of a funk", said Blatt. "It was a weirdness that we've never seen before."
The surprising correlation between Trump's success and interest in Tinder could reflect a variety of factors. Perhaps more Trump voters use the platform, and they expressed their happiness and optimism following his victory by logging on to Tinder (this might seem unlikely as 55% of 18 to 29-year-olds voted for Clinton, but Trump attracted 48% of white voters in this cohort, surpassing Clinton's share).
In states where Trump lost, the impact of his cheerful voters may have been offset by a larger number of sullen Clinton voters, disappointed to win their state but lose the election. It's also possible that a causal relationship doesn't exist, and Tinder users simply lost interest or migrated to a rival service. But given Match.com's penchant for data analytics, the company wouldn't connect the two phenomena lightly.
Many Americans felt strong connections to their candidates; it's unsurprising that elation and heartbreak spilled over into their dating lives. Given the shocks and shortcomings of Trump's presidency so far, we wouldn't be surprised if Tinder continues to be affected.