New Research Finds Red-Blue Partisan Divide Extends Across Book Purchases

April 11, 2017 5:00 am
(Thomas Hawk via Flickr)
(Thomas Hawk via Flickr)
(Thomas Hawk via Flickr)
(Thomas Hawk via Flickr)


Bookstores might have to start setting up separate shelves for Democrats and Republicans.

New research shows preferences for political books are tied to purchases in other genres, like science. The findings came from a study of book buying at Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s online store. It was conducted by Yale, Cornell, and the University of Chicago.

Science has been inching away from politically neutral ground for quite some time, but the study confirms the severity of this drift. Despite this, both audiences still have an appetite for science books.

Liberals tend to read books on basic sciences like physics, astronomy, and zoology. Conservatives, on the other hand, show a preference for literature on applied and commercial science, such as medicine, criminology, and geophysics. Social science and climatology books attract both sides of the aisle, but even with those fields, each side demonstrates clear preferences.

James Evans, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said in a press release the research shows science “could be a crucial bridge for crossing partisan divides in America,” but that it wasn’t immune from “the ‘echo chambers’ of modern political discourse.”


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