Jobs and Votes

Andrew Gelman posts these fascinating graphs showing the trend in Republican voting in several occupational categories compared to the national average.

Clearly, running a business makes you a Republican. What if everyone had to do quarterly estimated taxes? But Republicans have made big gains with both skilled and non-skilled wage-earners too. But nothing compares to the professionals — doctors, lawyers, etc. — rush to the Democrats. What explains that?

What’s interesting is that there has been such a big difference in the trend for different kinds of relatively wealthy people. I suspect it has something to do with differences in which compensation, regulation and taxation are experienced. (Do doctors, lawyers, etc. feel more like they’re collecting rents at levels relatively detached from the application of effort?) Or maybe some kind of personality variable that predicts conservatism vs. liberalism is increasingly predicting occupational choice. Can we learn more about this, please?

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center