What’s in a name? A man we call Billy could be just as liberal or conservative as the next. Except that’s not true. According to a widget put together by the non-partisan political technology startup Crowdpac, created by scouring records of all political donations since 1980, some first names are more conservative or more liberal than others.
If you’re familiar with my columns it should come as no surprise that I fall on the liberal side of the spectrum. But I was surprised to find out that “Tess” is actually the 12th most liberal name in the country, and that those named Tess are much more likely to make political donations. I also tested out my sister’s name, “Kate” which happens to be the second most liberal name in the U.S., with Kates being three times more likely to donate. Clearly my parents knew what they were doing.
There are some trends among the most liberal and conservative names over all. The five most conservative names according to Crowdpac were Doyle, Billy, Eldon, Buddy and Lamar. The most liberal names meanwhile were Natasha, Kate, Deirdre, Abigail and Gabrielle. As Katherine Miller from Buzzfeed puts it “the liberal names generally sound like a group of women in their late 20s; the conservative names sound like the members of a large bluegrass band from the 1930s.”
Considering the fact that women and younger Americans tend to skew more liberal than their older, male counterparts, this makes sense.
Of course, figuring out someone’s political ideology based on their name alone is a far from perfect science. Washington D.C. is known to be the most liberal place in the country. Yet the two most popular names for babies born in the District in 2013 were William and Charlotte, both of which skewed on the conservative side of the spectrum according to the Crowdpac widget. Which means that either a generation of Washingtonians are unknowingly breeding an army of tiny conservatives or that regional and socioeconomic naming tendencies change over time.
It most definitely the latter, but the former is far more fun to think about.