WARNING: If you believe the ‘never discuss politics or religion in polite company’ rule should apply to blog posts, you should stop reading now.
With the midterm elections fast approaching and nightly news broadcasts devoting an increasing amount of time to the most divisive issues of U.S. politics – gun control, social security and immigration – we began wondering about some of the more subtle differences between conservative and liberal voters. What core traits and attitudes differentiate these groups? What common values bind each group together?
For the purpose of this post, we asked 900 participants to categorize their political leanings as either ‘more conservative’ or ‘more liberal’. We were then able to delve into our archive of responses to identify some of the differences in preference, awareness and attitude that differentiate each group.
Reviewing prize choices from past Slice of Life games, we found a distinct difference in the willingness of liberals and conservatives to try more adventurous foods. Participants who classified their political leanings as ‘more liberal’ were significantly more likely than those who classified their political leanings as ‘more conservative’ to choose adventurous food prizes.
We also found a difference in preferences for a personal prize (gift card/cash) versus a charitable donation. When offered the chance to win a donation to the ASPCA or a gift card for PetSmart, liberals were significantly more likely than conservatives (46% versus 34%) to choose the donation. When offered the chance to win a donation to Wikipedia or in cash, liberals were again significantly more likely than conservatives (18% versus 8%) to choose the donation.
While analyzing Name Dropper results (our two-player guessing game), we found that liberals were, on average, slightly better at correctly guessing Name Dropper topics. This ability was especially pronounced in the Entertainment category, with liberals’ fingers more on the pulse of current musicians, tv shows and movies. However, conservatives were better at guessing some classic entertainment topics such as ‘Ben-Hur’, ‘Happy Days’, ‘Bruce Springsteen’ and ‘The Eagles’.
Conservatives were significantly less likely than liberals to believe in many aspects of the otherworldly. Conservatives were almost three times more likely than liberals to disagree with the statement ‘There is a very real possibility of extraterrestrial life existing on distant planets’ and were two times more likely to say they don’t believe in Karma:
Conservatives were also less likely to choose a prize based on otherworldly beliefs. When offered the chance to win a 12 month personalized horoscope (worth ) or in cash, conservatives were significantly less likely to choose the horoscope (5% versus 17%).
Breaking the Mold
Interestingly, while looking through our archive of related games, we found that participants often don’t match every aspect of their political archetype:
- 12% of liberals said the cable news network they watch the most is Fox News.
- 25% of conservatives said they support the Affordable Care Act.
- 62% of liberals agreed that flag burning should be illegal.
- 66% of liberals had fired a gun.
- 68% of conservatives agreed that the minimum wage should be increased to .10/hour.