Parents of Daughters Skew Republican, Study Finds


Here’s a fun topic of conversation for the Thanksgiving dinner table: A new study says that parents with daughters are more likely to identify as Republican.

(Remember, if we go an entire week without examining how women influence men, society may very well crumble.)

The study, recently published in Sociological Forum and picked up yesterday by the Pew Research Center, found that “compared to those with no daughters, parents with all daughters are 14% less likely to identify as a Democrat….[and] 11% more likely to identify as a Republican than parents with no daughters.” The study’s abstract also adds, “There is no evidence that daughters promote liberal views of women and less consistent evidence that they influence views of abortion or teen sex.”

According to Pew, the authors suggest having daughters might push parents in a socially conservative direction, straight into the arms of the Republican Party.

What’s especially interesting is that the effect was most pronounced among wealthy, better-educated respondents. It dwindled to statistical insignificance further down the ladder.

This is difficult to square with the results of a recent study, which found daughters tend to make dudes more generous—charity not being a major plank of the modern GOP platform. It also contradicts other studies, including a 2008 survey of Congress. But it does fit with a recent study that found boys with sisters are more likely to grow into Republicans.

Now, it’s worth noting that researchers used data collected during a national longitudinal study—in 1994. There’s 20 years of cultural and political changes unaccounted for, here. Plus, even the authors warn about the study’s limits:

Conley and Rauscher caution that having daughters is not the only factor or even the most important one predicting party identification. The authors only studied the effect of the sex of children and not the gender of other family members, though they did control for a variety of factors including the parent’s education, age, religion and gender.

Still, we can’t help but picture a bunch of parents straight out of some Elvis movie—a pack of pearl-clutching country-club types desperate to keep the pernicious influence of rock-n-roll away from their precious baby girls.

Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican [Pew Research Center]

Photo Credit: Maryna Kulchytska/Shutterstock

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