Politics & Policy

‘Not Employed’ Listed Among the ‘Most Democratic’ Jobs

Job fair in New York City, April 2013. (John Moore/Getty)

On Tuesday, Verdant Labs released a new graphic using Federal Election Commission (FEC) statistics to determine the political leanings of those in various occupations based on campaign donations in 2012 and 2014.

“This analysis is possible because the Federal Election Commission (FEC) provides data that reveals who made what contribution to which political campaign, when they contributed, how much they contributed, what they call their occupation, and other info,” Verdant Labs said. “We aggregated that data and applied a simple formula for each occupation.” 

Shortly after the graphic debuted, it began raising eyebrows. On Wednesday, Philip Bump of the Washington Post decided to follow suit and do some more digging into the political affiliations of different occupations in the United States. Bump created a tool on the Post’s website to allow anyone to search a job title and see how just how Democratic or Republican that specific job is according to the FEC’s data. 

One of the most interesting finds is that those who self-identify as ”Not-Employed” nearly always donate to Democrats. When you search the term using Bump’s tool, the results state, “There were 653 donations from people who listed their occupation as Not-Employed. They gave infinity times to Democrats.” 

Some of the jobs that lean most heavily Democratic include non-profit consultant, art historian, and organizer.

Bump cautioned that there are many variations of the same job title. “This uses the description given to the FEC and that alone,” Bump explained. “So people whose occupation was ‘not-employed’ gave more to Democrats, but those calling themselves ‘unemployed’ gave slightly more to Republicans.” 

Searching “unemployed” with the tool reveals that 52 percent of the 1,908 donations made by self-proclaimed ”unemployed” people in 2012 and 2014 went to Republican candidates. (46 percent of such donations went to Democratic campaigns.) 

On the flip side, the search for “Not Employed” produced the most striking results. During the 2012 and 2014 election cycles, 26,247 people who defined themselves as “not employed” gave to political campaigns. Ninety-five percent of those donations went to Democratic campaigns, making the “not employed” 24 times more likely to give to Democrats than to Republicans.

Some of the other jobs that lean most heavily Democratic include non-profit consultant, art historian, and organizer. Those most likely to donate to Republicans include C.E.O.s, petroleum engineers, and trucking.

— Julia Porterfield is an intern at National Review, editor-in-chief of Red Millennial, and a junior at Regent University.

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