The 6 political groups least likely to believe that astrology is scientific

February 20

 

Gajus / Dreamstime
Gajus / Dreamstime

 

Last Sunday, I posted a list of the seven overlapping political groups who are most likely to believe that astrology has at least some scientific basis. A recent report by the National Science Foundation reviewed scientific knowledge and attitudes using data from the 2012 General Social Survey.  A surprising 41 percent of American adults believe that astrology is “very scientific” or “sort of scientific,” as opposed to 55 percent believing that astrology is “not at all scientific.”

To explore the relationship of politics to views on astrology, I analyzed the same database as the NSF used on this issue.  The results can be found in a brief report that I put up at the Social Science Research Network: “Who Believes That Astrology is Scientific?”

 *         *         *

In the 2012 General Social Survey, which political groups are least likely to believe that astrology is “very scientific” or “sort of scientific”?

1. Conservative Republicans 

  • 27.0% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 70.0% astrology: not at all scientific

2. Republicans (overall)       

  • 31.1% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 66.2% astrology: not at all scientific

3. Conservatives (overall)

  • 36.5% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 60.3% astrology: not at all scientific

 4. Moderate Republicans                 

  • 37.7% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 60.2% astrology: not at all scientific

5. Conservative Independents                           

  • 40.9% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 56.1% astrology: not at all scientific

6. Liberal Democrats                

  • 41.7% astrology: very or sort of scientific
  • 56.9% astrology: not at all scientific

Although liberal Democrats typically rank near the top on most science issues, on astrology-as-science in 2012 they do not differ significantly from the rest of the sample overall.  Nor do moderate Republicans and conservative Independents differ significantly from others in their tendency to think that astrology is at least somewhat scientific.  The only three groups who significantly tend to view astrology as less scientific are conservative Republicans, Republicans, and conservatives. [The margin of error for the party and political orientation groups is 3.3-4.0%, while the median margin of error for the combination subgroups is 6.6%.]

A slightly different pattern holds for the question:

“Do you ever read a horoscope or your personal astrology report?”

The groups least likely to report reading horoscopes are:

1. Conservative Republicans (38.2%)

2. Republicans (overall) (40.2%)

3. Conservative Independents (40.4%)

4. Conservatives (overall) (42.4%)

5. Moderate Independents   (44.2%)  

6. Moderates (overall) (45.6%)

All on this list but moderate Independents are significantly less likely to read horoscopes than those who are not in that group.

The most likely political groups  to read horoscopes are conservative Democrats (59.5%), moderate Democrats (56.8%), Democrats (56.2%), and liberal Democrats (54.8%).

For more information, see “Who Believes That Astrology is Scientific?” To explore the political dynamics on science issues other than astrology (using three decades of data from 1972 through 2002), see the paper, “Who Fears Science?”

Coming in the next few days: Political group views on evolution and on the Earth going around the Sun

Jim Lindgren is a law professor at Northwestern University, with a BA from Yale and a JD and a PhD in (quantitative) sociology from the University of Chicago. He is a cofounder of the Section on Scholarship of the Association of American Law Schools and a former chair of its Section on Social Science and the Law.
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