The bigger the sports fan, the more politically conservative they tend to be

Basketball is the exception, which leans very left.

Ever been to a football game and seen the crowd work themselves up into a fervor? Well, there's some scientific substance to that. A study by the American Association for Public Opinion Research, published in the Public Opinion Quarterly, shows that the more passionate the sports fan, the more right-wing they are likely to lean. 

The study—available here—was originally done to simply show which political direction fans of particular sports leaned, but the findings showed that the more intense the fan's love was, the more they leaned to the right. The study doesn't try to attach cause to correlation but does highlight that sports players often lend credence to the idea that one can rise up based on one's talents. 

One particular line stands out: "both professional athletes and sports announcers often deliver a straightforward narrative in which victory is solely a function of effort." This does attest to the fact that Republicans tend to believe that we live in a fair society, and that everyone is equal, despite evidence to the contrary (not trying to lean either way politically, just reporting the facts!). 

The findings were true among almost all the sports. Football fans erred more conservative, while basketball fans tended to be the most liberal. 

As someone that spends their days reading these kinds of studies (disclosure: I'm an editor of the site), the findings are a little dubious in that it's largely non-scientific, and asks the participants to judge themselves based on a subjective scale. A large portion of the study was done using an online test, and it's been proven that those are rarely answered honestly (Nobody on the internet knows you're a dog, etc). And as we've said repeatedly on Big Think before, correlation does not equal causation.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".