I’d heard that people who had more children were more likely to be conservative. Indeed, I think I read in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything that this is a logical outgrowth of the fact that Dems are pro-choice, are more likely to limit the number of children they have, and are therefore voluntarily decreasing the Democratic demographic. Two USA Today articles, though, really spell out the difference between conservative value voters (usually Republicans) and liberal lifestyle voters (usually Democratic). The first is an article about how marriage and Republicanism march together:
House districts held by Republicans are full of married people. Democratic districts are stacked with people who have never married. This “marriage gap” could play a role in the Nov. 7 congressional elections. Democrats need a net gain of 15 seats to take control of the House of Representatives.
• Republicans control 49 of the 50 districts with the highest rates of married people.
•Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.
The same issue of USA Today looks at the political fertility gap, too:
Republican House members overwhelmingly come from districts that have high percentages of married people and lots of children, according to a USA TODAY analysis of 2005 Census Bureau data released last month.
GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district.
Many Democrats represent areas that have many single people and relatively few children. Democratic districts that have large numbers of children tend to be predominantly Hispanic or, to a lesser extent, African-American.
There are opinions from experts in both articles explaining these phenomena and their effects on politics. I don’t know how much I need an expert. As I noted in my first paragraph, since abortion is often (not always, but often) a bright line between people who hew Left and those who hew Right, it’s easy to see that people who have more children are less likely to support abortion and correspondingly more likely to support Republicans. Likewise, marriage is still a statement of tradition — and often one connected with having children — so that too ties in with more conservative values. People who have children also tend to look longer down the line, rather than to immediate needs and emotions, and I think that too results in a right-ward lean.
Hat tip: JL. (I don’t know if you want your full name used, JL, but you know who you are, and you have my thanks.)