The authors found some stark evidence that the wealthier a rich person is, the more conservative he or she tends to be. For example, "The wealthiest of the wealthy tend to favor less regulation." "The wealthiest also tilted more toward cutting back domestic social welfare programs, especially Social Security."
Moreover, amongst the rich, every sub-group -- gender, age, education, even whether they were first-generation rich or rich via inheritances -- varied insignificantly from one-another: all sub-groups were the same -- extremely conservative. "The chief exception" was "The 24 percent of our respondents who classified themselves as "professionals' (mostly lawyers and doctors) differed markedly from the others. ... Professionals were particularly distinctive in their support for environmental protection, for action against climate change, and for economic aid abroad. They were also more supportive than others of certain social welfare programs and progressive taxation. Most notably, professionals tilted distinctly in the direction of more regulation rather than less regulation of various industries." To put it simply: they were far less likely to be psychopaths -- less likely to be interested only in "What's in it for me?"
"About twice as many of our respondents considered themselves Republicans ... as considered themselves Democrats."
So: for the first time ever, the attitudinal profile of the aristocracy, as compared to the public, is now known, via the first scientific study of it.
These authors explained why it was so difficult to achieve a study of this topic: "It is extremely difficult to identify and interview a representative sample of wealthy Americans. ... Even their gatekeepers have gatekeepers. It can take months of intensive efforts, pestering staffers and pursuing potential respondents to multiple homes, businesses and vacation spots, just to make contact. ... Our success resulted from special efforts. We employed highly talented and persuasive interviewers."
In two previous articles, "Studies Find that Conservatives Are Bad People, And That Successful People Tend to Be Bad," and "The Rich and Educated Believe Wealth Correlates With Virtue, Says Study," I summarized and linked to nine different research-reports in the social-psychological literature that have produced remarkably similar findings to the findings in this political-science survey.
I have not been able to find any studies, in any field, that report contrary results to these.
All studies of which I am aware have found that wealth tends to correlate with psychopathy: the rich tend to be much more psychopathic (self-interested at the expense of the public) than the rest of the population; and the richer one is, the more psychopathic one will tend to be.
The richest tend to be the greediest. Surprise!
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .