A fascinating part of politics is exploring what makes people vote as they do. The political belief that a person holds often is linked with something entirely unrelated. Several studies have shown correlations between, for instance, personality traits or hormone levels and support for the Democratic or Republican Party.
One such study was undertaken by Hotline and the National Journal, which can be found here. They compared the relationship between the sports people watch, the national parties they vote for, and their turn-out rate.
The results were graphed below:
This chart compares the voting rates and political skew of each sport’s audiences to the average (mean) American. The numbers indicate percentages; for instance, fans of WWE wrestling are about 59% more Democratic than the average American but only 66% as likely to vote as the average American.
The results are quite interesting. Unsurprisingly, most sports viewers tend to vote Republican; this is because sports fans are generally males, and males lean Republican. Political analysts may be interested to see that NASCAR fans are less Republican than college football and PGA watchers – although this may just be an artifact of randomness.
There does not seem to be much of a consistent difference of type between “Democratic” sports and “Republican” sports. Viewers of NBA basketball are left-leaning, but viewers of college basketball are right-leaning. NASCAR fans are more conservative, but sports car racing fans are liberal. On the other hand, there is a link between the type of sport a person watches and his or her likelihood to vote. Sports with low-voting viewers tend to have small audiences, and to be relatively obscure. Once again, it would be quite interesting to explore why this is so.
Indeed, this graph leaves us with a whole set of puzzling questions. Why are college basketball viewers so much more Republican than NBA viewers? Why are NBA fans so liberal in the first place, unlike any other major sport? Why are people who watch non-mainstream sports less likely to vote?
Until somebody comes up with a convincing set of answers, this Democratic-voting NBA fan will keep on wondering.