Names have political bent, too

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2012 - 6:44 PM

What's in a name? Perhaps your political leanings.

Brent, you're probably a Republican. Liz, you're likely a President Obama fan.

It's not quite that simple, of course. But Chris Wilson of Yahoo News crafted an interactive chart (www.startribune.com/a1779) using the first names of Americans who contributed at least $200 by Aug. 31 to Obama, Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential candidates.

In charting more than 750,000 donors on the Federal Election Commission listings, Wilson found 41,400 unique first names. Among them: 21,186 Johns, 7,081 Susans and no Baracks.

Wilson also found interesting distinctions between nicknames and formal names. Christophers and Elizabeths, for example, are more likely to lean Republican than those who go by Chris and Liz.

Among the names that appear at least 25 times, the four "most Republican" are Ashley, Kelly, Courtney and Patsy among the women; Brent, Tyler, Clayton and Willard for the men. On the Democratic donation side, the leaders are Gwendolyn, Liz, Annie and Kate, along with Willie, Reginald, Ali and Andre.

For Wilson, the big surprise was not any individual results but a yawning gender gap. Even the most Democrat-leaning men's names were more conservative than the most Republican-leaning women's names. And the conservatives donated more.

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