Ready for more narrative writing by gaming journalists and the ESA? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) has apparently identified ‘most’ gamers as being conservative and the survey as showing them as politically active. But while some people may be rejoicing at that, is it really the case?
Are so many gamers really conservative?
Well, as Betteridge’s Law of Headlines suggests, the answer is no.
Let’s start with the ‘source’, the PR post by the organisation that has all their political ‘stats’ included. They say that:
- 80% of gamers plan to vote in 2016 (compared to 75% of the general public)
- 79% of gamers voted in the 2012 election (compared to 69% of the general public)
- 48% identified as ‘conservatives’, 38% as ‘liberals’, with among 38% saying they align with Democrats, 38% with Republicans/Tea Party and 24% as independents.
- 76% believe humans play a role in climate change.
- 67% believe in stronger investment in renewal energies
- 61% support cutting existing programs to alleviate budget concerns
- 41% said they were better off than eight years ago
- 61% said wealth should be more equally distributed in the US
- 42% support more educational choices, like taxpayer funded vouchers for private or religious schools.
- 40% said the military should be used as often as needed to ‘promote US policies’ while 40% said diplomatic solutions should be the aim.
Do you notice anything here?
Like, the statistics not backing any conceptions of gamers as conservative at all?
Okay, I’m not from the US. Some people here on Gaming Reinvented are, but I’m not. Either way, none of these statistics seem to back that idea at all:
Conservatives usually tend to be a bit more ‘anti’ science. From what I hear, more of them tend to doubt things like global warming compared to those on the other side of the political spectrum, with only 29% of Tea Party Republicans and 38% of conservative ones thinking it’s happening. So right off the bat, the people who responded to this survey seem to come across as more moderate or more left leaning than a significant amount of the Republican Party.
Wealth distribution is another key point mentioned here. That’s a contentious concept in general, but a rather large portion of conservatives are probably not going to be for it.
And the military thing? Yeah, doesn’t that put a damper on the idea that games like Call of Duty inspire gamers to join the military or become more violent or some other such crap? It’s like all these war games make people think more military involvement is a bad thing, not something that ‘every patriotic citizen should be supporting’ or other such rubbish.
Above: Remember when people thought this would turn gamers into ‘killers’ or some crap?
Either way, the only thing even remotely conservative that this study has shown is that a decent amount of gamers support cutting government programs to try and balance the budget/fix the deficit/whatever else. Which isn’t really that shocking of an idea, given that a significant amount of UK and European parties want to do the exact same thing, and that many (perhaps even most) normal people in these countries would support it likewise.
Of course, the data in the survey itself is pretty questionable too. For example:
The ESA said 79 percent of gamers voted in the 2012 presidential election, compared to 75 percent of non-gamers,
US Census Bureau reported only 61.8 percent of the eligible voting population actually cast a ballot in the 2012 election.
Either their survey participants are a strange group compared to the general publication, or their data is (at least in some respects) completely wrong.
So the actual data doesn’t suggest conservative attitudes are common among gamers. And unlike what some (usually less biased) sites say, it’s certainly not true that more than half of gamers are conservative.
But what do you think? Did I misread the survey somehow?