The Journal of Politics

ARTICLES

Two Genes Predict Voter Turnout

James H. Fowlera1 and Christopher T. Dawesa1

a1 University of California, San Diego

Abstract

Fowler, Baker, and Dawes (2008) recently showed in two independent studies of twins that voter turnout has very high heritability. Here we investigate two specific genes that may contribute to variation in voting behavior. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we show that individuals with a polymorphism of the MAOA gene are significantly more likely to have voted in the 2004 presidential election. We also find evidence that an association between a polymorphism of the 5HTT gene and voter turnout is moderated by religious attendance. These are the first results ever to link specific genes to political behavior.

(Received December 03 2007)

(Accepted February 05 2008)

Footnotes

James H. Fowler is associate professor of political science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. Christopher T. Dawes is a Ph.D. candidate in political science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093.

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