Physicians and politics

The totally unbiased (!!) NYT recently reported on a Yale study that although physicians overall are almost equally divided between liberal and conservative voters, there are differences based upon specialty.

I am somewhat skeptical of conclusions based upon the assignment of physician political views of just 36,000 physicians based solely upon party registration in just 29 states. The authors say that these states constitute almost 60% of the population leading me to conclude that maybe these are metropolitan areas. Some data from a different study is reported for 20,000 primary care physicians only.

It does appear that more female physicians tend to be liberal and younger physicians also tend to be more liberal leaning. What happens over a few years when the consequences of high taxes tied to higher tax brackets as they age is anyone’s guess. Also, the authors do point out that higher paid specialties tend to be more conservative leaning. I presume these are economic conservatives and not necessarily social conservatives. So, for instance physicians in Orthopedics, Surgery, anesthesiology, Urology, ENT etc. declare themselves to be conservatives whereas primary care, medical specialties, pathology and psychiatry lean liberal. In contrast to two decades ago, more political contributions are now going to liberal politicians.

Can this change be more linked to the switch from self-employed business owners to employees of large corporations and health systems where physicians generally tend to be critical of their employer??