Genetics influences political party loyalty

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Some people are just born right

People's political loyalty may be inflenced by their genes, according to new research.

Genetics influences party loyaltyIt's long been known that political beliefs tend to run in families, but it was always assumed that this was the result of social factors - nobody considered the idea that it might be even partly genetic.

But authors Peter K Hatemi, John R Alford, John R Hibbing, Nicholas G Martin, and Lindon J Eaves used quantitative genetic models to examine the sources of party identification and the intensity of that identification.

The results indicated that genes have no noticeable effect on which party people support, directly or indirectly. But genetics does appear to play a strong part in determining just how strongly held people's political views are.

"Genes appear to play a pivotal role in shaping the strength of an individual’s party identification," say the authors. "Together with recent examinations of political attitudes and vote choice, these findings begin to provide a more complete picture of the source of partisanship and the complex nature of the political phenotype."

The research is available here.