Maybe it’s just a coincidence or purely a statistical anomaly… but this paper, co-authored by a political science professor at Harvard, analyzes the connection between celebrating the 4th of July as a kid and voting Republican as an adult. There’s a lot in this paper, but the bottom line finding that the researchers uncover is that people who had more sunny skies on the 4th of July when they were kids are more likely to identify as and vote Republican as adults. Conversely, more rainy July 4th (and thus, theoretically, less picnics, parades, and fireworks) are associated with a weaker likelihood to vote Republican as adults. This effect is strongest, however, among those who live in heavily Republican areas to begin with. The authors explain that this may be due to the fact that Republicans are often publicly perceived, whether accurately or not, as more patriotic than Democrats.
Like I said, could just be a coincidental product of the number-crunching… but I briefly skimmed through the paper and the authors did a lot of checks and controlled for several other possible explanations. They put together a fairly persuasive presentation.
So who knows? Maybe watching more fireworks as a kid makes you more Republican when you grow up. Something to chew on as you take your kids to the picnics and fireworks this weekend! :-)
A write-up of the paper at the Monkey Cage blog: http://themonkeycage.org/blog/2011/07/01/does-july-4th-make-children-become-republicans/