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.


Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • There are 2 different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.
  • One is a morality/order approach. The other is a bottom-up approach.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright says there are many benefits to having no one central authority on what is appropriate speech.

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
  • Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
  • Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.