Lottery Winners Become More Right-Wing after Winning

Sunday, February 23, 2014
(photo: Jeff Chiu, AP)

Lottery winners could be a jackpot for more conservative political parties, a new study (pdf) has shown.


Citizens of the United Kingdom were studied after they won lottery prizes of up to £200,000; however, more than 95% of the subjects won less than £500. Although about 38% of UK citizens support parties on the “right,” or conservative, 41% of lottery winners vote for conservative parties and 45% of those winning more than £500 vote that way, as reported in The Conversation.


Among lottery winners, about 18% were shown to have switched to a more conservative outlook during a given year, but only 13% of non-winners moved to the right. According to the study, “We show that an increase in a person’s overall household income in year is associated with a rise in their belief in the justice of the current wealth distribution in society.”


Prof. Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick, who conducted the study with Prof. Nattavudh Powdthavee of the University of Melbourne in Australia, reported that “[a] lottery win is a stand-out factor in what makes people change their views. It has two effects: it makes people more likely to change their allegiance from Labour to Conservative and their support tends to change within their party allegiance.”


Robert Ford, a lecturer in politics at the University of Manchester, told The Conversation that the study was interesting because it included those from all backgrounds and walks of life. “It gets around all sorts of problems with the idea that people vote in a certain way because of the amount of money they have—which can be dependent on a lot of other factors such as who their parents are, what their job is—which might push their vote in a certain direction,” Ford said. “But people randomly getting an amount of money allows the researchers to isolate that factor and interrogate the data more simply.”


Lottery winnings aren’t the only reason a person might move to the right. An American study released last year showed that parents in the U.S. whose first children are girls are more likely to be Republicans. Interestingly, those findings conflict with an earlier British study that showed that parents of girls were liberal.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Lottery wins make people more likely to vote Conservative (by Jonathan Este, The Conversation)

Having Daughters Increases Parents’ Identification with the Republican Party (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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