Contrary to the long held belief that the way we identify with political parties is the result of socialization factors, this recent research suggests instead that genetics play a crucial role in shaping our attitudes. The political identification concept is among the most studied in modern political science. This research encourages a fresh approach towards the nature versus nurture debate, since it now seems clear that both forces operate in tandem. Recognizing the role of genetics enables a better understanding of human political behavior.
Utilizing quantitative genetic models, the authors examine the sources of party identification and the intensity of that identification. The results indicate genes exert little, if any, influence on party identification, directly or indirectly through covariates. However, we find that genes appear to play a pivotal role in shaping the strength of an individual’s party identification. 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.
Title: Is There a “Party” in Your Genes?
Authors: Peter K. Hatemi, John R. Alford, John R. Hibbing, Nicholas G. Martin, and Lindon J. Eaves
From: Political Research Quarterly 2009; 62: 584.
First published: December 18, 2008