Friday, November 30, 2007

Want Better Mental Health? Vote Republican

Years ago, we'd hear on the nightly news that one out of every ten Americans suffer from mental disease. It was a fairly constant subject of dinner table conversation as we'd each look at the others and wonder, hmm? Now comes news that our family needn't have worried unnecessarily: we're predisposed towards better health.

The Gallup organization released a report this morning that explains much about our politics and our self-perception.

In Republicans Report Much Better Mental Health Than Others, Gallup researcher Frank Newport explains how the data from four different Gallup Health and Healthcare polls describe Republicans of every socio-economic stripe as rating their mental health better than do either Independents or Democrats.

Significantly better.

According to the report, Republicans' mental health is described as Excellent by 58% of respondents, a rating achieved by 43% of Independents and only 38% of Democrats.

Conversely, almost twice as many Democrats describe their condition as Fair/Poor as do Republicans.

These ratios remain consistent across income, race, education, gender age and marital status.

Mr. Newport ends with

Correlation is no proof of causation, of course. The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel).
Because of a large sample size, the margin of error is only ±2%.

UPDATE: James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal calls it The Sanity Gap.

The converse is equally interesting, of course:

Are people with more negative mental health drawn to be Democrats, or do they become that way after joining?

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