The Conversation

Study: Parents of Girls More Likely to Be Republican

The surprising results of a study conducted by sociologists Dalton Conley of New York University and Emily Rauscher of the University of Kansas, show that having daughters “significantly reduces the likelihood of Democratic identification and significantly increases the strength of Republican Party identification” among parents. 

Not only is the daughter effect statistically significant, it’s substantively large.  They found that overall, “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,” they write in the journal Sociological Forum.

The daughters effect is considerably stronger among better educated and wealthier parents, they find. But among those farther down the socioeconomic ladder, it weakens to statistical insignificance.

Their startling conclusions are based on data collected two decades ago from 661 respondents with biological children interviewed for the 1994 General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. 

These results differ from from studies that test the effect of daughters among the political class:

Among them is a 2008 voting analysis of members of Congress. It found U.S. Senators and Representatives with more daughters voted more liberally than other members.  

Also, boys who grow up with sisters in the house, are more likely to identify as adults with the Republican party. 

The reason for this, the authors speculate, is that "men and women might want more socially conservative policies when they have daughters and thus be more attracted to the GOP."

Interesting findings - especially for Democrats who plan to push a socially liberal, "War on Women" type narrative in 2014. Their efforts will  likely backfire with the parents of the young women they are trying to impress, and those parents are probably more likely to vote during an off-year election.

Hat tip: Occupy White House


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