Study: U.S. Flag ‘Primes’ Voters Toward Republican Viewpoints

Just a glimpse at the American flag can sway voters, even Democrats, toward more Republican voting behavior, attitudes and beliefs, a new two-year study says.

The authors, from the University of Chicago, Cornell University and Hebrew University, say the research proves the American flag has a powerful effect on voters.

“A single exposure to an American flag resulted in a significant increase in participants’ Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting eight months,” reads the study titled, “Long-Term Effects of U.S. Flag Exposure on Republicanism.”

 “These results constitute the first evidence that nonconscious priming effects from exposure to a national flag can bias the citizenry toward one political party and can have considerable durability,” the study says.

In the study, first reported on by “U.S. News and World Report,” participants, mostly Democratic-leaning, were asked to fill out a survey about their opinions on Democratic and Republican parties, leaders and their voting intentions. Half of the surveys contained a small American flag in the top left corner. They were given out just before the 2008 presidential election.

Although 90 percent of participants said they wouldn’t be influenced by the presence of a flag, the scholars found that the participants exposed to the flag had a bias toward the Republican Party and shifted their behaviors toward the Republican end of the spectrum.


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