The study’s findings disagree with a number of previous studies, which have tended to find that conservatives and Republicans report better health than liberals and Democrats. Conservatives are more likely to report being happy and religious, and both of these factors have been linked with better health, the researchers noted in their study. In fact, the researchers of the new study even hypothesized at the outset that conservatives and Republicans would be less likely to die earlier than liberals and Democrats.
The new findings might differ from previous findings because a person’s risk of dying is an objective measure of their health, whereas a person’s perception of their health is more subjective, the researchers said. For example, “liberals may be more or less likely to perceive themselves as sick than conservatives, when in fact their objective measures of health are identical,” the researchers wrote.
In addition, it’s possible that people who fall ill might change their political views on issues such as universal health care, the researchers said.