Are tall people more conservative?

What can a tape measure tell you about how someone will vote? Perhaps everything, at least statistically.

A new study reports a clear connection between height and political views, at least for British people. In short: as a person's height increases, so too does the chance that he or she is conservative politically, the study found.

The researchers used 2006 data from the British Household Panel Study, which includes thousands of people and contains information like height, income, education, and political preferences.

They discovered that “taller individuals are more likely to support the Conservative Party, support conservative policies and vote Conservative,” according to the study, which was published in the British Journal of Political Science. (In the U.K., the governing Conservative party is center-right on the political spectrum.) Not only that, but each one-inch height increase translated into a .6 percent increase for the Conservative party, the study said. Each inch also was linked to earning hundreds of more British pounds in income, too.

Sara Watson, an assistant professor of political science at The Ohio State University and a coauthor of the study, said the findings could apply to an American political context, and that income is a key factor in the equation.

“We don't have any immediate plans to study this phenomenon in the US, but we also have no theoretical reasons to expect that our findings would not extend to the American setting,” she told in an email. “We think that the fact that height predicts political preferences is driven by the fact that taller people generally earn more, and there are several studies from the US (as well as from Britain and other countries) which have found evidence of a ‘height wage- premium.’”

The height-politics connection they found was true for both men and women, but more pronounced for men.

Watson told that their results are not just an example of a correlation between two unrelated factors. (In science, correlation is not the same as causation.)

“The reason we focused our attention on height is precisely because height is a strong predictor of income-- and many social scientists, including economists and anthropologists, believe that this relationship is at least partly causal,” she said. “So we do think there is a causal relationship between height and voting which operates through income.”

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