News & Politics

NEW STUDY: Winning the Lottery Makes People Become Right Wing

Lottery winners become more conservative and less egalitarian after a windfall.

It seems the best chance for Republicans to win over voters may lie in lottery tickets.  New research has found that lottery winners tend to become more right-leaning after enjoying a win, The Guardian reported.

The joint Australian and British study analyzed more than 4000 British citizens who had won $365,000 on the country’s national lottery scheme based on household panel surveys taken each year from 1996-2009.   

While most wins were relatively small (only 541 people won over $910), researchers found a clear trend of lottery winners switching political allegiance to politically conservative parties with almost 18 percent of winners immediately switching support to Conservatives after winning the lottery.

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What’s more, 45 percent of people who won more than £500 ($816 USD) said they supported rightwing parties, compared with 38 percent of non-winnners.

Other findings revealed that the shift to the right was greater for those who won larger amounts of money and more common among men than women.

Co-author of the study, Professor Nattavud Powdthavee, told the Guardian that researchers were looking to determine whether political ideology is driven by ethical views or self interest.

“The amount won in the lottery is completely randomized but we saw that the more you win, the more right-leaning you become,” he said. “You are more likely to favor rightwing ideas, such as lower taxation, and are less favorable to redistributive policies,” he said.





Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.