Political leanings have a genetic basis

By Sheryl Kay • Published: October 13th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s probably no surprise that if you were raised in a home where your parents and grandparents were all active, politically involved voters, you are too. But part of the reason you are enthusiastically involved might have less to do with environment and more with your genes.

In a study published recently in the American Political Science Review, researchers at the University of California in San Diego compared the voting records of identical and fraternal twins in Los Angeles. Results showed that the identical twins, who share one-hundred percent of their genes, were considerably more alike in the amount and the type of political participation than the fraternal twins, who share about fifty percent of their genes.

Researchers confirmed their findings when analyzing the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, using twins’ data from 1994 to 2002 to show that genes accounted for seventy-two percent of the discrepancies in voter turnout. Investigators even went one step further in identifying two specific genes that may influence your path to the polls, both of which had been studied previously for effects on social interactions. Again the data demonstrated a strong correlation between the genes and voter turn-out.

Authors of the study were quick to point out there is no such thing as a “voter gene” and that social interactions are the result of many factors. Still, they say, there’s no denying heredity will play a definite part in who we’ll all choose this November.