Popular accounts of “lifestyle politics” and “culture wars” suggest that political and ideological divisions extend also to leisure activities, consumption, aesthetic taste, and personal morality. Drawing on a total of 22,572 pairwise correlations from the General Social Survey (1972–2010), the authors provide comprehensive empirical support for the anecdotal accounts. Moreover, most ideological differences in lifestyle cannot be explained by demographic covariates alone. The authors propose a surprisingly simple solution to the puzzle of lifestyle politics. Computational experiments show how the self-reinforcing dynamics of homophily and influence dramatically amplify even very small elective affinities between lifestyle and ideology, producing a stereotypical world of “latte liberals” and “bird-hunting conservatives” much like the one in which we live.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science