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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Canada
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    15,300

    Are Baby Names Indicators of Political Leanings?

    Here is an interesting article which appeared on the Daily News website. What do Berries think of this study?

    How we know David Cameron is a liberal: Researchers claim people who give their children 'soft' names are really left-wing

    Conservative voters tend to choose masculine sounding names
    Parents with left wing views choose more feminine names
    Names like Florence and Nancy may indicate David Cameron is liberal

    By Daniel Bates 6 June 2013|

    The name you choose for your baby gives away your political affiliation, new research has revealed.

    Conservatives tend to choose more masculine-sounding names for their children with lots of K’s and B’s.

    They are also fond of choosing names with lots of D’s and T’s because they sound tough.

    The study showed that people with more left wing views do the opposite and tend to include a lot of feminine words.

    These include L sounds and soft-A endings such as Sophia.

    The findings may give a clue into how the likes of David Cameron really think - he chose Nancy, Florence, Arthur and Ivan for his kids suggesting that he is really more liberal than conservative.

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has two sons, called Daniel and Samuel, who seem more in keeping with his left-of-centre political beliefs.

    The US researchers looked at birth records from 545,018 babies born in California in 2004, representing 52,589 different names.

    They then compared the names to voting returns in each neighbourhood and used these as an indication of their parents’ political inclination.

    The study found that ‘soft’ sounds, like the L in ‘Lola’, the A in ‘Ella’ or the Y in ‘Carly’ were more likely to be found in areas which voted on the left.

    Examples of this include ‘Julian’ or ‘Liam’ for a boy or a girl’s name like ‘Malia’ - one of US President Barack Obama’s daughters.

    Conservatives by contrast went for ‘harder’ sounds such as Track, Trig, Bristol and Piper, names chosen by the family of former vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

    Lead researcher Eric Oliver, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, said that the difference could be to do with perceptions of names that are linked to wealth.

    Traditionally masculinity has been linked to economic success, so by giving your child a more masculine name parents could in theory be hoping they will become wealthy too.

    Professor Oliver said: ‘The fact that we would find any kind of systematic differences, much less the magnitude of differences that we found - I really did not anticipate that.

    ‘I think most of this happens unconsciously...underneath there is a lot of signalling going on’.

    Another finding related to the kind of names that parents chose.

    Liberal parents are more likely to choose an obscure name to denote status whilst conservatives usually opt for something more conventional, the study showed.

    Left-wing mothers and fathers try to use obscure cultural references to inflate their social position and show how smart they are.

    This could explain why many actors and actresses, who usually have left-wing views, choose odd names for their children such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who count Pax and Shiloh among their brood.

    Conservatives by contrast tend to opt for traditional names like John, Richard, or Katherine because the elites in society have them and they want their children to be part of the club.

    The findings have not yet been published but were presented at the 2013 Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Chicago.
    All the best,
    Mischa.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    694
    This is really interesting! I have a mixed reaction, because I live in a red state and hear plenty of soft, feminine-sounding names on girls used by conservatives. But many of those same parents naming their daughters Sophia or the like are choosing the stereotypically conservative names for their boys, whether it's more traditional like John or Sara Palin-esque like Track.

    I've mentioned on other threads that I live in an area where hyper-masculine names are often used on boys, in reaction to more and more boy names being used on girls. I know of little boys named things like Rage, Riot, and Chaos (cree8ively spelled, of course), and their parents are indeed conservative. Few of my more liberal friends have children, but the ones that do have chosen softer boy names like Ian or Miles.

    I can see the left-wing stereotype of using more obscure names in myself...I do love the names Artemis and Atticus, after all. My intent isn't to imply any sort of status, but those names easily fit into the more liberal area and I'm more liberal.
    I hope to be a mom one day. For now I enjoy being a name lover.

    My apologies for any typos; i post from my mobile phone.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    UK
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    2,126
    But... Cameron isn't a liberal. Or am I not getting something here?

    I think Cameron's kids' names are quite telling as to his political stance. If you look at the 2 major UK parties (being very stereotypical here), you've got Labour, who are generally supported by working class, lower income voters, and Conservative who are supported by upper class, high income voters. I'd say Conservative voters would more likely choose historical, classic, traditional, soft, 'British upper crust' names for their children (like Florence, Nancy, Arthur) whereas Labour/left wingers are more likely to use 'out there', unisex or downmarket names. Perhaps that's just me though

    I think there may be some correlation with names/politics, but I don't really buy into this stuff to do with the way a name 'sounds'. Track, Trig, Bristol and Piper do not sound like names a Tory MP would give their children to me! It'd be interesting to see stats for the UK though.

    Actually, reading everything back through, I think I'm getting my political parties mixed up. I don't think I'll ever understand US politics! :/
    William ♠ Thomas ♠ Peter ♠ Henry ~ Rose ♠ Alice ♠ Ivy ♠ Lowenna
    Mowesi ~ Henwyn Kernewek ~ Mebyon

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    5,340
    In the U.K I'd expect conservatives (the uppermiddle and upper class)to choose vintage, Victorian and classic/ancient names, and labour (lower middle and lower class) to choose more normal and also more pop influenced and trendy names. The liberals (middle class) I'd expect to choose hipster, literary and nature names, as well as classic grounded names.
    The left and right wings are completely different in Western Europe and America, so that article hardly applies to us, C&P!
    [FONT=Palatino Linotype][CENTER]My darling Marian Illyria Aphrodite, March 2013 & Little Bunny (a girl!) due 9th of February 2014[/CENTER][/FONT]

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    915
    Correlation, not causation. Families are big indicators of political leanings: children most often follow their parents' political beliefs, at least until adulthood, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who identifies as conservative Republican whose parents are liberal. Politics run in families, as do naming styles. Simple as that.

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