The other day, I was driving by a local pet superstore and began thinking about my childhood dog. A labrador retriever named Max, he was a great member of the family; protective, reliable, and, most of all, loving. He cared for my parents and me with everything in him and would reflexively defend us against any visitor, only calming down after being assured that the person in question was no threat. He died when I was still in primary school, but even to this day I have only the most vivid and happiest of memories of him.
While reminiscing about Max, I heard of some political happening on a radio news brief. I do not recall exactly what was so important, but it turned my thoughts to a related subject; how do dog owners vote? As a member of America's non-animal owning minority, I had no idea. In leftish urban, centrist suburban, and right-leaning rural areas, though, I have seen that many tend to have both cats and dogs, so perhaps my question was based on flawed premises.
Determined to settle my quandary one way or the other, I did an online search and was led to, where else, Freakonomicsdotcom. There, I found that a difference in partisan registration between cat and dog owners does indeed exist. Citing a Gallup poll released in early 2008, the freakonomists said 33 percent of those having dogs are Republican, while the same can be said for just 28 percent of cat owners. Additionally, a lesser number of canine fans are independents, and the same cannot be said for those making beelines for felines.
A corny joke, I admit. This is why I am a sociopolitical, and not a comedic, writer. For this we should all be thankful.
These statistics make sense when another piece of research mentioned by the freakonomists is brought into the equation. A University of Texas at Austin study showed that dog owners are more likely to be outgoing and affable in terms of personality. Meanwhile, cat owners have introverted tendencies, though strangely enough are more expressive. This makes sense; the GOP mostly consists of families with kids these days, and if you have little ones, then few choices other than being affable and outgoing are available. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, appeals to singles and childfree couples with its left-leaning social policies, and these folks are prone to being introverted.
At some point in my life, I may consider getting another pet. If this happens, I will first consider cats. One of these would probably suit my personality very well, but nonetheless fit poorly with my party affiliation. Oh, well. Perhaps the socially moderate positions of we Rockefeller Republicans make us natural companions for cats, as do they for our Democratic friends. In any case, I am glad that my question received a definitive answer.
Now if I could just recall what that bulletin was about.
Originally published in Blogcritics Magazine:
Joseph F. Cotto is a scholar and columnist from central Florida. Most often writing about political affairs, he is a member of the all-but-extinct Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party, taking conservative stances on fiscal and national security issues while being a staunch centrist on social matters. For several years, he was an accredited reporter for Wikinews, Wikipedia's news subsidiary. There, he covered major stories such as the 2008 presidential election and interviewed personalities ranging from former U.S. senators to filmmakers. He is currently at work on a book about American politics.