Not too long ago, Crowdpac—a non-partisan firm dedicated to political analysis—published a study outlining the political leanings of people of various occupations. They used federal campaign contribution records dating back to 1980 to score whether individual donors lean liberal or conservative based on what kinds of candidates they gave to.
Starting at one end of the spectrum, you have a few groups that can be identified as having far-left views. These would include those working in news and print media, entertainment, academics, and the computer industry.
Just a little over, you have your moderate liberals: those in the pharmaceutical industry, legal work, and the automotive industry.
Less “in-the-middle” and more balanced by liberals and conservatives on both sides, you find lobbyists and hedge fund/private capital investors.
Slightly right of center are those who work for Big-Tobacco.
As generally conservative, you can point to those working in real estate, oil/gas/coal, mining, building, banking, and finance.
These are, of course, just the findings of one study by Crowdpac. For a similar study with more specific careers, check out this site.
Some trends are worth noting from Crowdpac’s findings. There seems to be a correlation between education or type of work and one’s political leanings. More educated people are more likely to favor liberal candidates while blue-collar workers often favor conservative.
Those trends lead to another interesting observation: people vote according to their social values. Economic theory aside, the Democratic party has historically been the institution looking out for lower income workers. However, it is clear that those type of workers have fairly consistently leaned Republican. This must be because, among other things, people generally vote in accordance with their social values. They acknowledge they care a great deal about the economy, but when it comes time to vote, they care more about freedom than the free market.
It’s also worth noting that there’s not a lot of centrist voting going in this study. This of course breaks my heart, but with the possible exception of those in lobbying, private capital, and the tobacco industry, most people are radicalized in some way. This cannot be healthy for a democracy.
I always think it’s helpful to review studies like these, anything that points us toward our own biases. Beyond requiring that we acknowledge that we are biased, it helps us understand the thoughts of other people. They’re not evil nor tyrannical. They’re people, like me or you, trying to do what they think is best.