…Well, we tried anyway.
America is a deeply divided nation when it comes to politics. But we wondered if our political affiliations, beliefs, and the way we cast our ballots have anything to do with what sort of music we like?
How do our political affiliations affect our preferences for one genre over another? Or our choices to attend certain concerts over others? As music artists divide along party lines and use their fame to assert their political opinions, do we follow suit?
TickPick wanted to know if your status as an elephant, a donkey, or um, “other” affects the tunes you listen to, so we conducted another survey. Turns out, the media was interested in our findings too, especially those news outlets from Canada. But read on to find out more…
Here’s What We Did
We surveyed 1,007 Americans about their political stance and positions on certain policies as well as their musical preferences. All of the data we recorded was based on self-reporting by respondents, so we didn’t check to see if anybody was registered under a certain political party or anything like that. We also excluded those who weren’t paying attention because we didn’t want to mess up our info. The only political affiliations we included were Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Because it’s just easier that way…
Our Nation’s Favorite Genres
Classic Rock is everybody’s favorite genre. Across all parties, it was ranked #1 in preference, followed by Pop at #2. See? We’re not that different after all!
Okay, so then things started to change. Country was the #3 most popular genre among Republicans and it didn’t even break the top 10 for either of the other parties. This was an easy stereotype that happened to prove itself true through our survey – the conservative fan base just enjoys that homegrown, wholesome country music!
The Dems selected Alternative as their third favorite, while Independents selected Classical – so fancy! R&B and Soul was #4 for both left and right-leaning folks.
Hip Hop and Rap only landed in the Democrats’ top ten. Not surprising considering Obama was known for bridging the gap between hip hop and politics… and even letting people in on his favorite rappers and personal playlists.
Reggae also ended up on only one party’s list – the Independents. Might that have something to do with one of the leading independent presidential candidate’s lenient views on marijuana? Well, we wouldn’t want to make any assumptions…
Can We At Least Agree on Artists?
One thing’s for sure: Everybody loves The Beatles. Maybe it’s because they’re from across the pond so we see them as neutral and less of a threat to our political beliefs? Many media outlets seemed to take satisfaction in the fact that we can all agree on something! This was featured as a headline on several websites, including iHeartRadio and lots of local radio station sites.
Other bands everybody likes? The Rolling Stones and Elton John. More British rock stars… hmmm. Is this the secret to getting along? Have we discovered it?
Both Dems and Republicans can get on board with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Democrats and Independents agree on the value of more eccentric, liberal artists like David Bowie and Queen. While Independents and GOP members find common ground with The Eagles and Aerosmith.
Some favorites that weren’t shared among parties? Democrats and their love for Prince and Nirvana, Independents with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin, and Republicans with Billy Joel, Elvis, and Bon Jovi… regardless of the fact that Bon Jovi is not a fan of President Trump.
Music Preferences & Our Stance on the Issues
We also asked about a few of the issues to see if people’s music tastes correlated with their stance on certain current political questions.
Gun Control? If you like Indie Rock, you’re probably for it. If you like country music, there’s a 20% chance you’re against it. Heavy metal fans aren’t big proponents of gun control either. Beyonce fans are most in support of tighter regulations, while Garth Brooks fans were most likely to disagree with increased gun control. Yeah, we went that deep…
Building a Border Wall with Mexico? Again, Country fans are the most for it with 34%, while Indie Rock fans are against it at a rate of 73%. If you were a Garth fan, you were like to chant “build that wall!” while if you liked Kanye, you were more likely to be anti.
Wonder if any Kanye fans have changed their tune about Trump policies given the recent shenanigans of Kanye…?
How’s Trump Doing? Garth fans love him. Kanye, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga fans don’t. And fans of Blues music are extremely torn. Interesting…
Legalizing Weed? This one is very mixed up. Maybe it’s because people have very ingrained political beliefs, but they still really like to smoke pot? Yeah, that’s probably it. Heavy Metal fans might want to keep their guns, but they still want their weed too. So do Hip Hop and Indie Rock fans. The biggest naysayers? Country, Pop, and Jazz fans… and those who love Taylor Swift, the Biebs, and Celine Dion. Weird.
Gay Marriage? This one definitely inspired a few headlines around the Internet, including the Gay Times, Attitude, The London Free Press, Out, The Calgary Herald, The Montreal Gazette, and The Province. Why so many Canadian media outlets? Well, it turns out that 22% of Celine Dion fans oppose the legalization of gay marriage! (Not to mention the whole pot thing.) Yeah, despite the Canadian artist’s track record of supporting the LGBTQ community, her fans aren’t all falling in line behind her.
So it turns out you can definitely like the music of an artist without agreeing with their political stance. Tay Swift, the Bee Gees, and Elvis fans hovered at around 20% in their disagreement with gay marriage too. And (duh) Garth Brooks fans were the strongest in their disagreement at 24.5%.
Rap has a long, complicated history with homophobia, but it turns out supporters of Kanye, Tupac, and Lil’ Wayne were some of the most likely to support gay marriage.
So… What Did We Learn? Anything?
We learned that sometimes our music preferences lean into our political views and we follow our party’s stances – lookin’ at you country music fans! But sometimes, things get a little muddled and we just like what we like. Lots of us embrace the views of our favorite artists, like Lady Gaga and gay marriage, but sometimes we totally disregard them, like Celine Dion fans.
What do we think? We think you should listen to what you like and explore new artists and genres. Don’t avoid music because the opposing party embraces it. Music is personal, so political ideologies on their own can’t explain it… especially with just one survey.
So dip your toe into something new. Enlighten yourself by listening to new genres and artists. Maybe you’ll see some things from a different point of view – you might be surprised at what you find your head bopping along to! Like when your church-going mom really liked that one R. Kelly song… No, just me?
There’s way more to it than what we’ve broken down for you in this post. Read the full survey here: Tuning in to Politics: Analyzing Music Preferences and Political Viewpoints in America.
And don’t miss your chance to see some of your favorite artists – or check out some new ones! Buy tickets from TickPick for the cheapest concert tickets online with no fees… ever!