We always figured names revealed a little more than just how crazy (or creative) our parents were. And, according to a baby-naming app called Nametrix, first names can actually be used to predict political affiliations. Could being named Kimberly really make you more likely to vote blue? And...why?
Nametrix used political-donation data from the Social Security Administration and the FEC to evaluate the “politics of first names.” The shocking result: Certain names are most popular among Dems, while others are more prevalent among Republicans. Among guys, the most Democratic names are Jonah and Malik, and the most Republican are Delbert and Duane. And for women, the most Democratic names are Natasha and Maya, while the most Republican are Bailey and Brittney. We want to know how Apple, Moonchild, and Mayim ranked.
So, how do these name-centered political leanings happen? It’s probably a combination of a few different (and predictable) factors. There’s the obvious implication that maybe conservative voters skew toward more conservative names — Michael, David, Ashley, and Debbie are all in the GOP's camp, while slightly left-of-center names like Leonard, Mitchell, Allison, and Yvonne fell firmly in the Dem sphere. (Not so fast, though; plain-Jane names like Sarah, Stephanie, and Amy were found to vote blue.)
Of course, certain names are more common in certain ethnic and religious communities. Cultural baby-name trends and traditions exist, and so do voting patterns within those communities. In this month’s midterm election, Hispanics voted Democratically two-to-one, and it’s long been common knowledge than African-American voters skew blue, too.
Our baby-name political patterns will surely evolve as America’s overall population continues to change — which it’s doing rapidly. Though, disturbingly, white males, a group that only represents 31% of our population, hold 65% of elected offices. (Overall, 90% of our elected officials are white.) But, the country’s demographic makeup is changing; white people will make up less than 50% of the population by 2043. Only time will tell how these changes will impact naming conventions — much less elections.
In any case, it seems extremely unlikely that these political-baby-name outcomes have much to do with the children themselves. Kids who turn out Republican could just be picking up some of their parents’ political leanings by household osmosis (i.e., overhearing dinner-table discussions). Somehow, we doubt that nuanced beliefs about ObamaCare and the abortion debate are intrinsic to Bobs vs. Kellys.