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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. presidential candidates might want to pay attention to singles who say they have higher expectations of sexual fidelity for politicians than they do for their own partners, according to a new poll.
Although nearly 70 percent of people questioned in the online survey commissioned by the dating website Match.com said fidelity was compulsory in a relationship, about 90 percent said there were "no acceptable excuses" for infidelity in a political candidate.
"People do want their partners to be sexually faithful, but even more they want their president to be a sexually faithful person, perhaps because they see the presidential family as their own life, writ large," said Dr. Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor for Match.com.
"Perhaps it speaks to peoples' view of a leadership role in the world, a feeling that these people (politicians) represent them, and in some respects reflect their personal image, their own image in the world."
The poll of 5,000 singles across the United States also found wide variations in singles' romantic and sexual lives, depending on their political leanings.
Nearly 55 percent of conservative Republicans questioned in the poll reported having orgasms during sex, compared to 40 percent of liberal Democrats, although the conservatives also said they had less sex during the past year.
The differences between political affiliations, which were more marked than those between men and women or straight and gay singles, extended to what traits were sought in potential mates.
Liberal Democrats value humor, a similar lifestyle and a person who is independent and an equal. Republicans look for someone from the same background and political party who is interested in marriage.
In the upcoming U.S. presidential election, singles could have a large impact. They make up about one-third of the U.S. adult population, according to Match.com.
The poll showed that men were more willing than women to commit to a relationship without feeling sexually attracted to their partner; wanted to cohabitate sooner; found loneliness just as stressful as did women, and were more likely to show love and affection in public than females were.
"It's an illuminating, indeed myth-shattering, new set of scientific data," said Fisher.
People over 60 were most likely to insist on sexual attraction and romance in a partnership, and reported a high rate of sexual satisfaction.
While a surprising one-fourth of people aged 21 to 34 said they were virgins, more than one-third of all those surveyed said they were open to a casual sexual encounter in the near future. A similar number reported a one-night stand that had led to a long-term relationship.
Gay men and lesbians were seeking the same qualities in a partner as heterosexuals -- similar education levels, career success, physical attractiveness, a sense of humor and self-confidence.
But only 11 percent of people require a partner from the same religious or ethnic background, which Fisher said marked a huge change from just a few decades ago.
Singles also reported the sluggish economy as the main source of stress in their lives, although 60 percent said it has not changed their dating habits. More than 40 percent said would date someone who was unemployed.
Sex and relationship therapist Dr. Laura Berman and evolutionary biologist Dr. Justin Garcia of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington also worked on the poll, which can be found here
editing by Patricia Reaney