What Your House Says About Your Politics

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I'm not talking big house vs. small house -- that's too easy, and simplistic. A new study in The Journal of Political Psychology looks at the state of your house -- are you messy or a neatnik? -- and what that says about your politics. According to the study, liberals are messier, conservatives neater. Liberals' homes tend to be "colorful and awash in books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia." Items you're more likely to find around a conservative's home include "calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials."

I'm not sure what this says about me -- I'm pretty liberal, but unless I'm in the midst of some huge project, my house is usually pretty clean. (The study's predictions about my library and music collection are spot-on, however.) I have an iron and a full-size ironing board, perhaps a rare item for an urban-dwelling late-20s dude.

The study moves from the conservative living room into other parts of the conservative home, where "bedrooms and offices are well-lighted and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags—especially American ones." Using myself as the liberal litmus test, I have to admit that the above sounds nothing like my bedroom or office -- no flags or sports paraphernalia of any kind. (I'm an absolute sports moron.) When it comes to lighting, it depends on what they mean by "well-lit" -- I despise bright overhead light, preferring numerous low-key sources spread around the room. Dark spots are OK.

So what do the living situations of liberals and conservatives say about them -- at least, according to this isolated study? The researchers concluded that "liberals gravitate toward art and things that aren't as concrete," whereas conservatives "have a need for order" and despise "ambiguity," which is expressed by "being more orderly, having more cleaning supplies, needing to have everything lined up and organized so that one feels one's environment is predictable and therefore safe."

We want to hear from you -- does your living space line up with your politics, as defined by this study? Or are you a neat liberal or a messy conservative?

October 15, 2008 - 3:07am
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