Sunday, June 9, 2013

Researchers claim people who give their children 'soft' names are left-wing

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.

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