US children who celebrate Independence Day more likely to become Republicans, says Harvard study

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A child holding the American flag.
Image: E.D́.W.W..

A study conducted by Harvard University researchers has concluded that children who attend an Independence Day celebration are more likely to become Republicans as adults.

Even attending a single fireworks display or flag-waving parade, specifically celebrations without rain, can be predictive of a child's future political leanings and voting habits. "One Fourth of July without rain before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican at age 40 by 2 percent, the share of people voting for the Republican candidate at age 40 by 4 percent, and the share of people turning out to vote at age 40 by 0.9 percent," the researchers claim.

Moreover, the data does not suggest that the Democratic base is affected at all by the holiday celebrations. "There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization," the study claims.

David Yanagizawa-Drott, a public policy professor at Harvard and a co-author of the study, suggests that "the celebration of Fourth of July embodies certain ideas or values that are closer to the Republican Party," but adds that further study is needed to explain this trend. Another explanation offered by the study is that celebrations in Republican-dominated areas may tend to be more politically charged.