Study: Liberals Booze More Than Conservatives

Left-leaning states apparently enjoy hard liquor more than red states

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US President Barack Obama (C) shares a beer with Suzanne Woods (R) and Jennifer Klanac (L) during at Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant Amherst, Ohio, July 5, 2012, during an unannounced visit while on a bus tour of Ohio and Pennslyvania.

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If the Democrats want to change their slogan from “the party of inclusion” to “the party of cocktails!”, there’s research that will back them up. A new study from the Journal of Wine Economics shows that states that lean left tend to consume more spirits and beer than states with a more conservative bent.

Two economists from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh reviewed data from 1952 to 2010, comparing relative shipments of alcohol that arrived in each state with “citizen ideologies,” determined by factors such as vote results for congressional races. “Holding everything else constant, our findings suggest that when a state becomes more liberal politically, its population consumes more beer and spirits per capita,” the authors write. New Hampshire residents, for instance, swill far more hard liquor per capita than Americans making their homes in Utah and Arkansas.

So why would liberal inclinations be correlated with ordering another round? The authors review studies that suggest various explanations. Conservatives, for example, tend to be more religious than liberals, and religion has been linked with “healthier lifestyles by discouraging alcohol and tobacco consumption while encouraging exercise and personal hygiene.” But this isn’t necessarily all bad news for the Left: The authors quote a study that found intelligent children are likely to consume more alcohol than their less intelligent peers in adulthood.

The authors also present a moral hazard theory. “People may behave irresponsibly when they do not fully bear the cost of their behavior,” the authors write, and liberals “tend to advocate for a stronger role for government in health care and social welfare.” But more research is needed, they say, to determine a causal relationship between political ideology and pounding beers.