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The Politics of Baby Names

The Politics of Baby Names

Ronald Reagan left office in 1989. John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Still, conservatives carry a torch for President Reagan and liberals for President Kennedy, as well as his entire political family, and it's one that's sure to be carried far into the future.

How do we know this? We looked at the names Circle of Moms’ parents are giving to their children. We're seeing that 89% of mothers of children named Reagan identify themselves as conservative or Republican. Reagan (usually given as a girl’s name), is the "most conservative" among the top 250 names Circle of Moms’ mothers have given to their kids.

On the other side of the coin, 67% of moms of kids named Kennedy identify themselves as liberal or Democratic. Kennedy — also usually a girl’s name — is the #11 "most liberal" name in the Cirlcle of Moms ranking.

Also according to this ranking, Jaden — which has no political associations we’re aware of — is far more common among the children of self-identified liberals: 94% of the time, it is bestowed by liberal moms. (By this measure, it's the "most liberal" boy’s name.) Its conservative counterpart is Colton, which at 81% conservative, is is the "most conservative" boy’s name.

Fear not, Sarah Palin fans (and haters): Sarah is the second most conservative girl's name after Reagan. The numbers three and four names on the conservative list are also biblical: Rachel and Rebecca.

For boys, Colton's popularity among conservative parents is followed closely by Scott and Matt.

The most liberal names for girls are Jada, Maya, and Jasmine; for boys, the most liberal names after Jaden are Xavier and Julian.

Conservative Moms Favor Popular Names

Interestingly, popular names tend to be favored by conservative moms, while uncommon names are more likely to be found among the kids of liberal moms. All of the top ten most popular girls’ names (Sarah, Hannah, Emily, Jessica, Lauren, Madison, Emma, Samantha, Ashley, Taylor, Olivia) are more common among conservatives than among liberals. And nine of the top ten boys’ names (Matthew, Andrew, Jacob, Noah, Joshua, Ryan, Tyler, Ethan, Michael, and Christopher) are more common among conservatives, while only one (Jordan) is more common among liberals.

Liberal Moms Favor Unusual Names

Moms who have given their kids uncommon names (names held by less than one in 10,000 Americans) tend to be more liberal. Nearly half of all children have uncommon names (names at least as rare as Ray, Camron, Sky, Isis, and Jarrod). And a substantial majority (58%) of these kids are the children of liberal moms.

Data for the 1000+ most common names can be accessed using the links below.

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names by Ideology

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names by Name Frequency

Liberal and Conservative Baby Names Sorted Alphabetically

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Tracebooks Tracebooks 3 years
Only one of my kids' names even appears on the alphabetical list. I'm a conservative borderline libertarian Christian. I picked names that would fit in among their peers, but also stand out--traditional (non-made-up) names that are similar to popular names but just different enough to stand out. I've gotten complements on all of their names pretty steadily all of their lives.
LinChambers LinChambers 4 years
My husband and I are both pretty liberal, but we seem to follow a more conservative trend with a Nicholas, a Gregory, and an Alicia.
AngelaMastrodonato AngelaMastrodonato 4 years
Who would have thunk there is a connection between ideology and name preferences! Actually, I'm not convinced there is that much of a connection, but I like these articles anyway. When I named my first child 4 years ago, I wanted a name that stood out among MY peers. I named my daughter something that I thought was unique, but is really up-and-coming, and will probably be in the top 10 by the time she is 10. My daughter's name does NOT reflect my political leanings based on the stats on this site. When it came time to name my second child, I wanted a name that would stick out among my CHILD's peers. I picked a biblical name that it very popular among adults, but practically unheard of among children under 5. My son is a year old and his name has been trending downward for many years. My son's name reflects my political leanings a little more. The article fails to mention the geographic variable. I live in an area where I'm a political minority, but I still follow the fashion of the area, which may explain why my daughter's name doesn't reflect my politics at all.
ashleysimmons888 ashleysimmons888 4 years
This is interesting. I think that my reasoning behind my son's name is a reflection of my political stance after reading this. I am a moderate conservative that identifies with a number of liberal ideas; I guess I am a mix breed. I wanted to give my son a name that was uncommon but not entirely unique, again blurring the lines a little. We agreed on John Warren S.... John is my hubby's first name, and Warren because it is old but new too. Ironically, his initials are the same as my husbands (John Weston and John Warren). I hate when people create the family intitial thing, but unintentionally, I want to name our next baby Jacob Wade... again blurring my own lines!
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