In an answer on politics.SE, a Northwestern University study was highlighted, whose main findings included:

  • more Democrats than Republicans think astrology is scientific

    Using Fisher’s Exact Test, conservative Republicans are significantly more likely than other groups combined to reject astrology as not scientific (p<.0005). The same is true of conservatives compared to non-conservatives (p<.0005) and Republicans compared to non-Republicans (p<.0005). Likewise, Democrats are less likely to reject astrology as unscientific than others (p<.0005).

  • fewer Democrats than Republicans think the earth revolves around the sun.

    ...in 2012 a majority of Democrats (51.4%) could not correctly answer both that the earth revolves around the Sun and that this takes a year. Republicans fare a bit better, with only 37.9% failing to get both correct.

One thing that does look a little dubious is that that this study was penned by a law professor. I'm also unsure if it has been published in a peer-review venue.

Are the results of this study consistent with other similar studies on such matters?

  • 2
    Comments that aren't about improving the question should be taken to chat. One's posted here are likely to be deleted.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 15:56
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    I think there should be a clearer distinction between "Democrat" and "a person who votes Democrat". Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 10:27
  • Is it me or does the title make no sense? I wanted to edit it but not sure maybe it's just me
    – samayo
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 12:10
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    @samayo the Democratic Party is one of two major parties in the United States. It's contrasted against the other major party, the Republican Party. With that knowledge, it reads Are Democrats more likely [than Republicans] to believe [that] Astrology is a science?
    – JJJ
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 13:37
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    I'd say believing it makes usually-correct predictions is different from believing it's a science, i.e. that it's something built on proven facts and theories. The answers posted are about whether people "believe in" astrology, i.e. have faith in it, and think planetary positions somehow affect people's lives. Not whether people think it makes falsifiable predictions, and so on. (Of course, I'd guess that most people who understand that level of detail of what it means to "be a science" would know that astrology isn't one, and others wouldn't understand the question. Hard to survey :P) Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 7:14

2 Answers 2


Independently, Pew has discovered that a greater percentage of Democrats believe in astrology than Republicans:

Pew results: 31% of Democrats, 26% of Independents, and 14% of Republicans believe in astrology

They include details on their survey methods. They did provide a definition of astrology in the survey: "that the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives". This may rule out people confusing astronomy and astrology.

To summarize, this chart depicts that their findings were that 31% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans believe in astrology.

There may be good reason to question the significance of these findings, though. In Europe, as in the US, there is considerable belief in astrology. In a multivariate analysis, it was found that people do vary considerably in their answers based on what definition they are given, and that people are likely to confuse astrology and astronomy and likely to rank astrology as more scientific than horoscopes. (What Makes Some People Think Astrology Is Scientific? - Nick Allum)

However, the bit about heliocentrism seems at odds with what I have seen before. This is just one study, but it concludes that political conservatism is a predictor of disbelief in Earth Science: Do Americans Believe Modern Earth Science? - Allan Mazur. In the table on predicting factors, it notes a small predictive effect (may not be statistically significant) from political conservatism for disbelief in heliocentrism.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 5:01

The linked paper was written to

challenge two of the most common assumptions of political psychology: (1) that a belief in astrology is such a good indicator of conservatism that it is appropriate to use as a measure of conservatism itself; and (2) that Republicans and conservatives tend to hold views opposing science.

On the second point about Republicans opposing science, the focus on astrology seems a bit cherry picked, as roughly 60% of Republicans believe humans were created as-is less than 10,000 years ago (Democrats: 38%), or roughly 81% of Democrats vs 49% of Republicans think there is solid evidence the earth is getting warmer, so I might regard the results with a bit of skepticism.

But there are other Pew surveys (besides the 2009 one posted in the other answer) that address astrology and related new age beliefs. This survey from December 2017 shows Democrats have a higher belief in astrology (32%) compared to Republicans (24%).

(in percent)
                      Believe spiritual energy   Believe in   Believe in      Believe in
                      can be located             psychics     reincarnation   astrology
                      in physical things 
Republican/lean Rep.      34                        39             26             24
Democrat/lean Dem.        47                        41             38             32

Closing paragraph also calls out Democrats specifically:

Also, adults under age 65, those who have not graduated from college, racial and ethnic minorities, and Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than others to hold to at least one New Age belief.

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    "Reincarnation" seems like the outlier there, as it is a core tenet in several well-established religions.
    – Roger
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 13:53
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    Similar to the other survey, did they ask if participants "Do you believe in astrology?" or were they asked something like "Do you believe that the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives?" (or some combination of both?).
    – JMac
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 14:28
  • This is a good additional support. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 16:00
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    @MichaelW. Where does it say that? I see a list of groups that are more likely (than their respective counterparts) to hold a New Age belief. There's no correlation implied between these disparate groups other than their shared marginal likelihood to believe in New Agey stuff. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 22:57
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    @Roger It's true that it's a core belief in several religions, but none of those religions have a particularly significant presence in the U.S., whether among Democrats, Republicans, or otherwise. Bhuddists and Hindus only account for about 1.5% of the U.S. population, according to a 2015 Pew poll. All non-Christian religions put together are only about 6% and around half of those are Jewish or Muslim.
    – reirab
    Commented Dec 28, 2020 at 21:12

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