Are male Conservatives more macho?

AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

An academic study by researchers from Griffith University in Australia has claimed that physically strong men are more likely to vote conservative.

The study cites famous Hollywood action heroes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone as proof of the link between aggression and right wing political views.
The research claims that men are 'designed for fighting' and that the stronger and tougher they are, the more their strength influences their attitudes and their behaviour. It explains that; "better fighters feel entitled to better outcomes, set lower thresholds for anger/aggression, have self-favoring political attitudes, and believe more in the utility of warfare."

Essentially, it argues that stronger men believe society should focus on personal struggle and self-preservation, making them more likely to hold conservative views.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is their 'perfect' example - going on from action hero and hard-man to become Republican governor of California.

The study explains that historically physical aggression and the obvious appearance of strength were linked to status within a community, and it claims that many modern day men still believe in this connection between strength and entitlement.

The research, published in the journal Human Nature looked at studies from the US, India as South America and central Africa and found that stronger men were more likely to see aggression as a better way of resolving disputes.

The political connection

But how does all this relate to politics? The research focused on the political attitudes of Hollywood actors and found that those who played action-hero roles, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone among others, were more likely to support overseas military action by the US.

According to the study actors are generally left-wing, but the action stars it cited were more likely to support the Republican foreign policy position.

A real link?

However compelling the argument, this link does seem rather dubious. How often does it apply? And is it only true of Hollywood actors rather than those in other professions?

What about conservatism more generally? It seems that the only link really made is between strong men and right-wing foreign policy, rather than right-wing politics more generally.

And what about conservative and republican politicians? Boris Johnson doesn't exactly have a figure comparable to Arnie's does he? I'm pretty sure that George Bush's preferred sport is golf, and I can't imagine David Cameron performing especially well in a weight-lifting competition...

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